I remember reading an article on the strange practice of force-feeding young girls as young as 5 in preparation for marriage. This cruel practice, known as girl fattenning is making a significant comeback in certain parts of Africa like rural Mauritania ” A woman’s size indicates the amount of space she occupies in her husband’s heart,”hmmmm….. Aminetou Mint Ely, a women’s rights campaigner, said girls as young as five were still being subjected to the tradition of leblouh every year. The practice sees them tortured into swallowing gargantuan amounts of food and liquid – and consuming their vomit if they reject it.
Historians say the practice dates back to pre-colonial times when all Mauritania’s white Moor Arabs were nomads. The richer the man, the less his wife would do – the preference being for her to sit still all day in her tent while her black slaves saw to household chores. Ancient Berber quatrains laud tebtath (stretchmarks) as jewels. Even today lekhwassar (fat around the waist) is given lyrical pride of place and girls sent for fattening gain the stature of mbelha. They are taught to sit in the lotus position, speak softly, use utensils and to emulate the exemplary lives of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives. Fattening of girls is practised beyond Mauritania, in northern Mali and rural Niger – areas conquered, along with half of present-day Spain and Portugal, by the Almoravid dynasty in the 11th century. The practice of fattening also continues in Nigeria’s Calabar state and north Cameroon.