Know Safa Idriss Nour (then & now)
Super model Waris Dirie Somali model insisted Safa Idriss Nour, the child who played her suffering FGM in biopic, had to be spared the same fate
When she was three years old, Safa Idriss Nour received something no girl in her slum in Djibouti had been given before – a signed contract from her parents stating they would never inflict genital mutilation on her.
In Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, an estimated 98% of girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), a procedure that usually involves cutting off the clitoris and some of the labia, so this was a remarkable event. Equally remarkable is the story of how Nour came to get the contract and, indeed, of her battle to ensure that her parents stuck to the terms of the deal.
Nour starred in a film adaptation of Desert Flower, the international bestselling autobiography by Somali model and anti-FGM activist Waris Dirie. Published in 1997, her first book follows Dirie from her birth into a nomadic family in Somalia – from whom she fled, aged 13, after her father attempted to marry her to a 60-year-old man – to her becoming an international supermodel.
In 2007, Nour was asked to play the young Dirie as she undergoes FGM – on condition that her parents sign a contract agreeing never to perform the same ritualistic operation on her (keep reading)