And as we learn from The Day I Will Never Forget, it is an operation often performed by elderly, uneducated women using primitive instruments under not exactly the most hygienic circumstances. Consequently, some bleed to death, get infections or must ’merely’ live with pain each time they urinate. And if the operation doesn’t leave them with daily complications, then the day they lose their virginity, the experience involves unimaginable pain.

Circumcision is practised in some Muslim groups and also in some traditional African religions. In Kenya, Kim Longinotto visits Muslim Somali communities as well as communities based on traditional African religions. The film is structured around episodes. Her main characters are some young girls who are (or are about to be) victims of circumcision, and some admirable women in the community who persistently, through patient conversation, work to change people’s minds. And even though you would wish you could stop circumcision overnight, it is apparent that the women’s efforts are probably the proper course of action, but it will take a long time.

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