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Abstract

This paper draws on the narrative of a Samburu woman, whom we call Sasha, from northern Kenya. She has been living with recto- and vesico-vaginal fistula for more than ten years. Her homeland is characterized by abject poverty, patriarchy and traditional practices involving witchcraft, which is intertwined with the teachings of Christian evangelist missionaries that traverse the last two centuries. Sasha’s research interview offered representations of the broader social and political aspects affecting women with vaginal fistula and how this influences their lived experiences. We suggest that this condition is more than a biomedical issue, which we explain through our interpretive feminist analysis of Sasha’s story. An African feminist lens enables attention towards the influences of patriarchy, African ethnicities and underdevelopment of the African continent.

Note on the Author

Glory Joy Gatwiri, who is originally from Kenya, has just completed her PhD at Flinders University in South Australia where she teaches critical Social Work and feminist studies in the school of social and social policy. She is a feminist activist whose research focuses on women from the Global South.

Helen Jaqueline McLaren, Gatwiri’s PhD supervisor and Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Flinders University, has practice and research expertise in gender and development, interpersonal violence and systemic intervention.

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