Reviews & Comment

The Witches of Gambaga – Review

Nichtidentisches, Oct 2010

“… Her insightful documentary brings the victims of witch-hunts and their emotions closer to the audience. The beautyful colours of Northern Ghana – dark faces in front of sunflooded clay-huts, red dust and dry wood, the pied clothing – foil the dull pressure put on individuals as a result of fears of witchcraft. Light is grateful in Ghana: Every face is a scarred sculpture, every hut an environment. The impressive monumentalism of the aesthetics of primitive modes of livelihood is treated with self-evidence. Badoe is far away from exploiting this environment, though she does not deny its aesthetics – her way of filming escapes exotistic, neo-romantic artwork as much as the lurid, over-engineered realism that is in vogue. It focuses on the story to tell and the understanding of the audience, it raises questions instead of answering them”.
+ Read the full review

If they say I am a witch then I must be a witch!

Sokari Ekine, New Internationalists blog, February 2011

“…The success of the film is due to Badoe’s persistent visits and her personal engagement with both the women and the Chief, who allowed her to film the ‘secret’ ceremony which decides on the guilt of the women. Her interviews are intimate and heart-breaking; they show both the vulnerability of the women and their agency. For example, a young mother of two is ambivalent about her exile, but at the same time she’s focused on ensuring her children are educated by raising money to send them to school. The film wishes to confront and expose the issue of witchcraft. It tells the story as a matter-of-factly and, thankfully, lacks the ‘pitying’ and lecturing tone which is so often found in documentaries made by non-Africans. The film treats the women and its audiences with respect”.
+ Read the full article

AWDF on The Witches of Gambaga

African Women’s Development Fund, Jan 2011

“I missed the first couple of minutes of ‘The Witches of Gambaga’ documentary when it was premiered in Dakar, Senegal during the 3rd African Feminist Forum, yet in minutes I was gripped… the documentary took me back to Gambaga which I had visited in January 2010 during an AWDF monitoring and evaluation visit of grantees in the Northern Region of Ghana. I recalled our male guide saying to us ‘the women are witches you know, they confessed…’ and my colleague Nafi and I arguing the point with him. We were left with an overwhelming sense of sadness when we left the camp. ‘Why isn’t the government doing anything about this?’ we asked, ‘why are women in this day and age still being accused of being witches’? In watching the documentary I couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of hope. Finally, here is a medium which will tell the stories of the women at the Gambaga camp. Finally here is a documentary that can capture the interest of the International Community. Finally the government of Ghana will be forced to act”…
+ Read the full review

Women in Film: Yaba Badoe on The Witches of Gambaga

Paul Boakye, Colorful Times, Oct 2010

“Colorful Times caught up with writer and film maker Yaba Badoe to ask about the making of her new documentary, The Witches of Gambaga, and find out what prompted this latest creative outpouring and labour of love”…
+ Read the full article

Kinna on The Witches of Gambaga, Sept 2010

“I confess that a lot of things in Ghana, indeed across Africa, annoy me to the core. Belief in witchcraft is close to the top of the list. Annoy is really a mild word”…