A few days ago, the body of gorgeous model Katoucha was scooped out of La Seine, a month after she was reported missing. Like a Shakespearian scenario, the image is both painfully beautiful and tragic at the same time. Before Tyra and Naomi, there was Katoucha. The African beauty illuminated runways in the 80’s for such greats as Yves St-Laurent, in a time where being Black wasn’t such a great Fashion asset. Models have had tragic lives and tragic endings before but Katoucha’s tragic upbringing and her tragic end is symbolic. At 9 years old, Katoucha underwent an ethnic ritual not uncommon for Guinean girls: genital mutilation. It is of unspeakable barbaric nature and Katoucha was one of those who used her voice – and her past – to denounce the centuries-old practice. The Organization she founded was both a refuge and a soap box for victims. Perhaps her death will bring this pressing issue back on top of priorities of Third-Word problems to fix. I also ask myself about how quickly the problem would have been fixed if we were talking about testicular mutilation. Regardless, I’m thankful Katoucha had the balls to educate us and talk for all the voiceless victims.
Rest in peace.