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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781860497582

Price: £8.99

ON SALE: 18th January 2001

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General

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Waris Dirie (the name means desert flower) lives a double life – by day she is a famous model and UN spokeswoman on women’s rights in Africa, at night she dreams of her native Somalia. Waris, one of 12 children, was born into a traditional family of desert nomads in East Africa. She remembers her early childhood as carefree- racing camels and moving on with her family to the next grazing spot – until it came her turn to meet the old woman who administered the ancient custom imposed on most Somalian girls: circumcision. Waris suffered this torture when she was just five years old. Then, aged 12, when her father attempted to arrange a marriage with a 60 year old stranger in exchange for five camels – she took flight. After an extraordinary escape through the dangerous desert she made her way to London and worked as a maid for the Somalian ambassador until that family returned home. Penniless and speaking little English, she became a janitor in McDonalds where she was famously discovered by a fashion photographer. Her story is a truly inspirational and extraordinary self-portrait of a remarkable woman whose spirit is as breathtaking as her beauty.

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Reviews

Waris's story is one of remarkable courage. From the deserts of Somalia to the world of high fashion ... she emerges a real champion. She is the most beautiful inspiration to anyone
ELTON JOHN
A story that traverses continents, spans worlds of human experience and human pain ... Waris Dirie was a victim once, but she never will be again
EXPRESS
Dirie's story is an extraordinary one.
SUNDAY TIMES
She was circumcised at five, fled an arranged marriage at 12, then became a Pirelli girl in her teens. Now, at twenty-eight, Waris Dirie is an ambassador for the UN. Her mission? To rid Africa of its most barbaric ritual
OBSERVER