These graphic images photographed by Reuters Siegfried Modola show frightened young girls lined up before villagers in Kenya to undergo Tribal Circumcision. Even though the brutal practice is now illegal in the country, in many African tribes, traditions are more important than laws and circumcision is considered a rite of passage that marks their transition into womanhood so they can marry.
Siegfried captured this ceremony in rural Kenya for four teenage girls of the Pokot tribe, in Baringo County. Draped in animal skin and covered in white paint, the girls squat over large stones in the remote village after being circumcised.
Female circumcision is a life-threatening custom that was banned in the country three years ago but more than a quarter of Kenyan women have undergone the ordeal. According to DailyMail, the father of one of the girls, who asked not to be named fearing reprisal from the authorities, told Reuters:
‘It’s a tradition that has been happening forever. The girls are circumcised to get married. It’s a girl’s transition into womanhood.”
Circumcision is heavily practiced among the Pokot community, and one of the girls’ mothers believes it is a sign of strength.
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Frightened: Four young Pokot girls stand outside one of the girl’s homes just before the beginning of their circumcision ceremony