Desert Flower: A Tale of Resilience and Strength

Desert Flower: A Tale of Resilience and Strength

The movie “Desert Flower” relates the extraordinary story of the courageous Somalian girl Waris Dirie, who has been through a journey of struggle and hardship. Beginning from her life in the deserts of Africa to establishing herself as an internationally recognized supermodel, her story is incredibly inspiring and compelling. Just as a desert flower, she blooms in a desert, thriving hardships and harsh circumstances with her strength and resilience as a courageous woman.

The director, Sherry Hormann, has done a marvelous job of showcasing Waris’s autobiographical tale along with its dramatic twists. Especially, the role of Waris is outlandishly performed by the well-known supermodel and actress Liya Kabede. The plot is mainly based on the book ‘Desert Flower’, which is written by Waris Dirie. and Cathleen Miller. Other cast members contribute to its success as a movie that relates the story of strength and resilience.

The movie initially begins in the context of Somalia, Africa, throwing back to the days when Waris was a child taking care of household affairs and her family. Eventually, the plot brings out how Waris is forced into marriage due to her family’s poverty. Then she flees from her home, walking hundreds of miles across desert and scrubland to seek her grandmother in Mogadishu. She was then hired by an aunt in London as an immigrant maid. That is when her whole world turns upside down adapting to a totally different culture, economy and social status. Later, she finds herself working for a fast-food company as a cleaning maid. That is when she caught the attention of the famous fashion photographer, Terry Donaldson. Thereafter, her whole life changes after receiving the chance to enter the field of fashion modeling. Waris then gains immense success and fame as a fashion model by representing the authentic African beauty and charm that glisten through her personality.

Moreover, the movie brings out the tragic plight of Somalian girls and the gender discrimination attached to it. Female genital mutilation is a brutal process that is practiced in Somalia by cutting and sewing the genital parts of young girls, making them suffer physically and emotionally. This tradition prevails in society so that the future husband can be assured that he marries a pure woman with chastity. It is immensely heart-wrenching that these Somalian women are ignorant enough not to know that this is a violation of their rights as women. Initially, Waris herself was unaware that it was a barbaric practice that targeted Somalian women. The tradition and the rituals have influenced Somalian girls to bear up the pain as a respect to their culture. But after her friend Marilyn explains it to her, she gets to know the real aspect of this inhuman practice and begins to speak up against this injustice happening to Somalian women. In various interviews, she relates the story of female genital mutilation and the trauma she and Somalian women in common have been through due to this barbaric practice. Later, she even becomes a spokeswoman for UNO, relating the injustice, discrimination and physical and emotional damage that it has done to women throughout generations.

The story of Waris Dirie is indeed inspirational and powerful, as it brings out the value of understanding self-worth and womanhood. From beginning her life in the deserts of Somalia to raising her voice on bigger platforms such as UNO, Waris has come a long way with her courage and strength. She manifests how important it is to never give up, no matter how hard the circumstances are. Especially as a woman, her role is incredibly inspirational for every other woman in society. She becomes brave enough to speak up against injustice and discrimination, trusting her guts as a woman. In fact, she is indeed a perfect role model who manifests that the path to success is to believe in ourselves through all ups and downs!

– Rtr. Sandithi Kalansooriya

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