Tribes and Heritage of African Labia Stretching
When exploration of far-off lands came into being, many explorers visited Africa and came back with very different stories of how the people there lived and how different their cultures and daily practices were. Many of these explorers also came back with accounts of the African women being very differently built as compared to the European women and how their body parts were enhanced or changed to a greater degree.
Various artists like Heinrich Joseph Klein, Francois le Valliant, John Campbell, John Campbell, Shoemaker, and Gordon came back with very explicit drawings and paintings of the way of life in Africa, and the difference in the anatomy of the women there was widely noticed and sparked the interest of many scientists.
This observation was made of the Khoisan women. The Khoisan is a combination of two tribes; the Khoi and the San. These are the natural inhabitants of Southern Africa and have very distinct bodily features that set them apart from the others. This tribe is where Labia Stretching came from.
Expeditions were conducted for them to personally visit these far-off lands to view the mystery of the women in Africa and many of them came back with vast knowledge while most came back with confusion. The earlier accounts of the African women actually stretching their labia were very confusing and full of vague details and there so came a point where people thought that these women had different types of genitals and that’s why seemed different.
At that time it was very easy to attribute any type of bodily difference to an abnormality and as this new feature of the body came to light, it was very easy to call it an abnormality and compare it to the likeliness of animal parts. And that is what happened for a very long time and people would gather to watch these dissimilarities and be awed by them. However, even at that time, the pictures and the paintings have a very strong sexual tone and indicate the rising interest of the men in the old manner in which these women expressed their sexuality.
It took a very long time for the world to truly understand that the protruding cloth-like structures that these African women had, were actually the genitalia every woman has…they have just enhanced them and had been doing so for a very long time.
Labia stretching came to the world from the Hottentot group that lived around the Cape of Good Hope, around the southern tip of Africa. This was a tribe that may have been related to the Khoi-San or KhoiKhoi that we know today based on the similarities seen in them. Though his first mention of this practice was made around 1668, the first accurate writing was by Wilhelm ten Rhyne in 1686. Wilhelm was a physician with the Dutch East India Company and he provides a detailed account of the difference he noticed and explicitly mentions the stretched labia of the Hottentot women that he saw.
Wilhelm states that he saw a peculiarity that one does not see in the other races and mentioned that their private parts seemed to have finger-like appendages hanging from them. At the time, such a practice was never heard of and whoever saw them, struggled to find the right words to describe them so far, this had proven to be a great hindrance in truly understanding what these men saw. What also helped Wilhelm was that he has a surgeon traveling with him who had the opportunity of dissecting the body of one of the Hottentot women who passed away during their stay. The surgeon’s friend confirmed that these hanging appendages were nothing other than the labia minora (called ‘Nymphae’ at the time).