Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dispatches: Saving Africa's Witch Children

After a conversation with one of my aunts, my mother asked me to look up a show called Saving Africa's Witch Children. Apparently, it aired on Channel 4 (in the UK) a few days ago and caused quite a stir, at least in my aunt's circle. She stated that she only watched the first 10 minutes, it was so disturbing, but suggested that we try and watch it.

So, with the help of google, we tracked it down. I like to watch documentaries and "based on a true story" movies, my most recent Netflix movies included Rabbit Proof Fence (Australia's Stolen Generation), The Business of Being Born (self explanatory), Hurricane Katrina: A Requiem in Three Acts (also self explanatory), The Devil Came on Horseback (Conflict in Darfur) and Fidel (Castro, of course). Although it was a little difficult to find, my love of documentaries propelled me to keep searching, and finally youtube proved fruitful. I prefer to let those of you that are interested formulate your own opinions, and so I will post the links to the youtube videos (it is broken up into 6 segments). 

I would like to say that a few things about the presentation annoyed me. 

1) The events chronicled take place in Nigeria, the entire show was filmed in Nigeria, and yet the title of the program is Saving Africa's Witch Children. Why couldn't it be called "Saving Nigeria's Witch Children"? I have a few guesses about the answer to that question, and they all frustrate me.

2) Although I know that people are people, and I shouldn't see race, I do. The world just isn't there yet (despite the fact that Obama is the president-elect of the US). And unfortunately there were moments when I was watching when it looked like a white man coming in to save the black man from himself. Although I do NOT condone what is being done, and I applaud ANYONE of any race that is trying to make a difference, because of the ways in which most African nations and people are viewed and portrayed, it still bothers me when there is a tilt, however subtle, towards the idea of savage, uncivilized, barbarian Africans and their need to be lifted out of their darkness (pun intended). I do not think it was intentional, and they did show at least two Nigerian men that are making a difference so perhaps that is redeeming.

3) This television show made me think, again, about the power of religion. Over and over and over again I see people use God as their cover. Child abuse. Robbery. Rape. Murder. All in the "name" of God. It makes me sick.

Watch it.

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