WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS SCENES THAT MAY UPSET SOME VIEWERS
Children in their thousands are suffering significant abuse and stigmatisation, or even being killed, due to accusations of witchcraft against them. There are tens of thousands of cases, in many nations worldwide.
‘I’m not a witch’ is a powerful, new short film produced by Congolese film maker, Tshoper Kabambi, designed to promote awareness of the problem. Shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this film is part of a media strategy to engage communities, churches, civic organisations and other stakeholders, with the aim of protecting children from child witchcraft accusations and the associated abuse.
The film features street-living children in Kinshasa that have been affected by the issue of child witchcraft accusations. Using their voices, the film introduces the issue of child witchcraft accusation and the impact it has had on children living on the street. The film includes a small dramatised scenario based on a real-life stories. It also features a pastor speaking about how he previously accused children of being witches and his recognition of the damage it has done to the lives of children and their families.
Child witch accusation is a complex issue. Alongside the film are related materials for radio and downloadable audio podcasts for churches that will further engage people and raise awareness of this complex social problem. The film and materials recognise that there are differing beliefs on this issue and challenges these from a credible position, enabling misconceptions to be challenged, and highlighting the stigma, discrimination and trauma experienced by children.
These resources were commissioned by Feba in response to requests from street living children and survivors of witchcraft accusations, who wanted to talk about this issue and tell their stories in their own words. HCR Associate, Stephanie Mooney, is active in facilitating this work and encouraging the use of these different resources across the DRC and other countries, to challenge harmful cultural practices and to stop children being abused.
HCR is part of the Stop the Child Witch Accusations steering group (SCWA), a coalition of individuals and agencies responding to the reality of children experiencing serious harm or the threat of harm due to accusations of witchcraft or belief in malevolent spiritual influence.
For more information about this issue and helpful resources please see: https://stop-cwa.org
If this article raises any personal issues please contact your local professional services or contact the helplines below.
In DRC (Kinshasa and Goma): Dial 117
In UK: National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
In Australia: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)