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Branded a Witch

Branded a Witch

Mon May 20, 9-10pm, BBC3

By Gabriel Tate
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Life in the Democratic Republic of Congo is unimaginably tough. The smouldering embers of civil war. Grinding poverty. The ravages of disease. Thank goodness the church is on hand to provide succour, eh?

Well, no. Not when pastors are encouraging their flocks to blame their troubles on their young children by accusing them of witchcraft (or ‘kindoki’) when they wet the bed or have nightmares. Happily, they’ll provide a ‘deliverance’ service for a price, with treatments including torture, starvation and beating of the uncomprehending kids in question.

This debut documentary from Congo-born, London-raised Kevani Kanda – whose own cousin has been ostracised because of claims of kindoki – is a profoundly shocking one, but these upsetting cases are no longer confined to Africa.The appalling fates of young Londoners Victoria Climbié and Kristy Bamu, both murdered by relatives attempting exorcisms, have proved as much. Beyond better education and wider publicity, Kanda offers few answers – but the questions she asks may haunt you for days.
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