SUFFER NOT A WITCH TO LIVE

Buried alive, poisoned, scarred by acid - these are just some of the fates that have befallen thousands of Nigerian children accused of witchcraft in the last decade. Researchers believe this stigmatisation is a relatively recent phenomenon. While the belief in witchcraft has long been central in Nigerian culture - particularly in the Niger Delta states - a UN expert workshop on witchcraft in September 2017 heard how the Nollywood movie industry is also to blame for this phenomenon by blurring the line between fact and fiction.

 

Marc travelled to Nigeria in 2019 to investigate how both churches and Nollywood films have contributed to a surge in attacks on children accused of witchcraft. He found that - despite there being legislation in place since 2008 - no perpetrators have been convicted to date. His long-form article for the BBC, and interactive photo/graphic novel for Al Jazeera, featured interviews not only with children, but also parents, Nollywood film directors, pastors, and community members. The 60-page comic focussed on pentecostal deliverances and three siblings attacked by machete having been accused by their grandmother, the challenges of reunifying a child post-accusation, how accusations have led to many kids living on the street and, in this case, a garbage dump.

Here are a selection of photographs from the project.

© 2020 by Marc Ellison.

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