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