Segments in this Video

Witchcraft Accusation Victim (01:47)


A woman from Ghana talks says villagers accused her of causing her grandchild's death by witchcraft, and beat her unconscious and burnt her house. Her brother took her to a safe haven.

Public Opinion on Witches (01:19)

People on the street in Africa are asked what should happen to witches; most say they should be killed. Credits.

Sociological Perspective on Witchcraft (01:42)

In Accra, Ghana, a sociology professor tells his class about the social consequences of belief in witchcraft. The possibility of accusation serves as a means of social control.

Belief in Witchcraft (02:47)

A Ghana government official says belief in witchcraft is widespread, transmitted through oral tradition. See excerpts from a West African film, "End of The Wicked." Tribes employ trial by ordeal.

Believer in Witchcraft (01:06)

A former school teacher says his brother was bewitched, meaning someone tampered with his soul. He discusses the evidence for this.

Ambivalent About Witchcraft (01:01)

An African man says belief in witchcraft is a long tradition, but now human rights activists are criticizing witch camps. He is ambivalent about what to do but believes witches do exist.

Witch Camps (01:06)

An official says witch camps, designed as safe havens for witches, have existed in Ghana for about 200 years. Transition to democracy has brought attention to such customs.

Superstitious Region (03:26)

Northern Ghana is impoverished, rural and superstitious. A newspaper editor talks about the role of women in society. Women talk about domestic abuse and witchcraft.

Purpose of Witches' Home (01:24)

The chief of Kukuo Witches Home says witches' homes are a long tradition. The gods deprive women of their powers when they go to the camp, he says, and "we all live in peace."

Rituals for Witchcraft (01:55)

When a woman arrives at a witches' camp, a priest performs rituals involving slaughter of a fowl. If found guilty, the woman must drink a concoction to rid her of powers.

Accused Witch (04:40)

An accused witch says she was accused of killing her brother, and so ran to a witches' home for safe haven. She expects to eventually be allowed back home. Her daughter came to live with her and help her.

Kukuo Witches Home (01:45)

An accused witch says women without strong families are may be killed if accused of witchcraft; strong families can protect their accused and get them to a haven. She has raised children in a camp. There are no guards keeping women in camps.

Forced to Leave (01:54)

A woman was accused of witchcraft in the death of her brother-in-law. She had to go to the witches' camp and separate from her husband. She does not believe in witchcraft, because she has not seen it.

Women and Witchcraft (02:06)

Explaining why only women are brought to the witches' haven, the priest says women are wicked; most women there don't actually have powers, but just got themselves into trouble.

Beliefs of Accused Witches (01:07)

A woman at a witches' camp says she killed and admitted to killing. Another says a witch is just someone you don't like- the woman has not seen evidence of witchcraft.

Brother of Accused Witch (02:38)

The brother of an accused witch talks about seeing her beaten. The family urged her to tell the truth about whether she was guilty. He agonized over abandoning her to a witches' home.

Accused of Witchcraft (00:53)

A woman talks about being accused of witchcraft. Rejected by her village, she entrusts herself to God.

Communitarian Explanation (02:33)

Longtime Ghana resident Father John Kirby, says Ghanaian witch beliefs have influenced him; evil is a social problem, and Africans developed methods of preserving society. Social crises bring increased accusations.

Helping Grandmother (04:44)

The young granddaughter of an accused witch lives with her at the witches' camp to help her by carrying water and doing other work. She goes to market to buy her some food.

Living Alone (03:45)

An accused witch expresses sorrow about living alone and isolated. She has nobody to help her, so she has to go fetch water herself.

Family Photos (01:21)

An accused witch shows pictures of her extended family.

Women Vulnerable (02:23)

The husband of an accused witch says she the two of them were accused; only she was sent away, because she is a woman. His family discusses how the system works.

Motive for Accusation (01:34)

A woman says she managed her husband's farm; his family resented that she kept some of the harvest for her family, so they got her sent away as a witch.

Disbanding Camps (02:16)

A council of chiefs agreed to disband Ghana's witches' homes under human rights pressure. A man says he advocated improving conditions; disbanding camps is symbolic and will not solve witches' plight.

Police Unable to Protect (01:27)

A Tamale policeman says it is unsafe for women to return home if the witches' camps close down. If a village mob attacks a witch, nobody will talk to police.

Sentenced to Death (02:49)

A man recalls a supernatural experience involving witchcraft in the death of his child, and killing his mother. Horrified, he told police and became the first Ghanan convicted of killing a witch.

Witchcraft a Delicate Issue (02:14)

A Ghanan official says the government expects witchcraft beliefs to die out with education and development, but directly telling people what to believe creates problems.

Deeper Problems (01:40)

A member of Ghana's Parliament says her group went to camps determined to close them, but the women did not want to leave. The problem is bigger than the camps.

Staying at Witches' Camp (02:11)

A woman explains why she does not want to return home, though she does not fear violence. As an outcast, she is most comfortable with her life at the camp.

Can't Go Home Again (01:12)

Some at the witches' camp fear lynching if they return home. Others feel they have no families to return to after being rejected, and feel part of a community at camps.

Marriage (01:34)

A woman at the witches' camp met and married a man whose sister was confined there.

Waiting to Leave (01:12)

A woman waits for her son to take her out of the witches' camp as promised.

Visiting Son (06:27)

A woman talks about her relationship with the son who accused her of witchcraft. Her son expresses fatalism and distances himself from responsibility for her situation.

Future of Witchcraft (01:04)

A human rights activist says witchcraft accusations will decline with education. A government official says the human rights community must understand Ghana's culture.

Planning to Leave (01:24)

A woman's son has arrived to take her out of the witches' camp, but says he must get the chief's permission. She says she would have been killed if she had no son.

Planning to Stay (01:16)

A woman says she does not plan to ever leave the witches' camp. Her grandchildren help her carry water.

Witchcraft and Africa (00:18)

Thousands of witchcraft accusations occur each year throughout Africa.

Credits: Witches In Exile (02:00)

Credits: Witches In Exile

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Witches In Exile

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



Across Africa, a belief in witchcraft continues to terrorize women. "Witches in Exile" tells the story of women in rural northern Ghana accused of witchcraft, and the role of witchcraft in. They are beaten and cast out, sent to special villages that serve as havens and mitigate the brutal side of the culture. "Witches in Exile" examines how belief in witchcraft operates in northern Ghana, the motives and sociology behind accusations, and the lives of accused women, and the role of their families. With English subtitles. (78 minutes.)

Length: 79 minutes

Item#: BVL57855

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

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