While some in the Western world undergo expensive surgeries to ‘beautify’ their vaginas by labia reduction, in the central and west parts of East Africa, women engage in the age-old practice of labia elongation – Locally called okusiika – and may be conceptually reaping the rewards
The Great Lakes region is known for having well-established, women-centred practices surrounding sexual intercourse. For many generations, men in Uganda, Burundi, Congo and Tanzania have been expected to induce female orgasms (known as kunyaza or okumazisa) – commonly known as ‘squirting’ by stroking the clit using the penis.
The concept is centered around a procedure of labia elongation colloquially referred to as ‘Okusiika’ amongest the Baganda or ‘Guca Imyeyo‘ in Kinyarwada which means ‘to chop brooms’.
This practice, which is traditionally kept secret from the knowledge of men, involves a pubescent girl gently pulling out her labia outwards by applying special herbs to them. The knowledge of these special herbs is passed on to the girl from older women in the community or by the aunt within her family – known as ‘Okukyalila Ensiko’ (Concieved area in the bush where young girls go for sex education)
According to Orijin Culture, the girl would pull at her labia minora everyday for 10 – 20 minutes until well into adulthood and even marriage. Many women who participate in the practice believe that the elongated labia aid in ejaculation and Okumaala or kunyaza.
Interestingly, in the Western world, many women consider large labia to
This ancient practice challenges the idea that sex and sexuality are, traditionally, taboo on the content. Is the shameful approach towards sex an African attitude or is it an outdated colonial inheritance like homophobia?
African women are increasingly talking about sex and voicing their concerns.
In Kenya according to some video that went viral, some ladies are learning the technique of kachabali which also includes non-penetrative sex. With kachabali, large labia are beneficial to a woman’s pleasure sensation as Betty Katana Longo instructs in the video below:
In this time where terms such as ‘Africa rising’ and ‘Africa rising’ become more and more a part of the global lexicon, women need to start liberating themselves to talk about sex. It’s been around for much longer than all of us and, obviously, resulted in our existence on this planet.
The practice is one worth researching because it opens the door to understanding the intimate relationship between women’s views on sexual pleasure and sexuality which have not been documented much outside of the Western context.
Give us your say…