Moolaade

“Moolaad├ę,” an exceptional film from Senegal about women rising up against the brutal practice of female genital mutilation, is currently playing in Chicago and other cities.

When I saw “Moolaad├ę” at the Chicago International Film Festival in October, I had the chance to hear director Ousmane Sembene’s comments after the screening

“I know in Africa there is going to be a change, and it is women who are going to change the continent,” he said. “They have not waited for my work to start changing things.”

He noted that women have had strong positions in African culture through the continent’s history. When he has visited Europe and looked at the statues there, he says he thought, “All the monuments are to men. Where are the women?”

Female genital mutilation still takes place in 38 of Africa’s 54 nations, according to Sembene.

“It’s a practice that predates all known religions,” he said. “Nobody can tell you where it came from. … People continue doing it underground.”