We often try to convince ourselves that some things are not our reality. In Africa for instance, we don’t think of racism as much as our Western counterparts do however, ask our neighbours in South Africa and they’ll let you know just how much of an issue racism continues to be for them. Ask many about slavery and they’ll tell you it’s a thing of the past when in truth, it’s simply been replaced by more acceptable methods to the means which often come in form of househelps. While they aren’t 100% the same thing, there are parallels and it’s ignorant to think otherwise. Or how else can one explain paying some uncle in a faraway village in Imo State a sum of money for the services of their underage niece in Lagos. In some cases, it’s that clearcut for everyone to see, in others familiar to neigboring countries like Ghana and Togo, it takes the form of Trokosi.
Following the story of Brigitte Sossou Perenyi, a young lady who was married off to the gods and separated from her family as remuneration for the sins of a family member at age seven, we learn about the destructive Trokosi system that has effectively become a means of enslaving African women in Ghana, Togo and Benin by the Ewe people.
In the documentary, Brigitte looks into the systems and cultural practices that separated her from her family, reflects on her time in the shrine, how it robbed her of her livelihood and childhood and helps to show us her motivation to share her story. Trokosi definitely has no place in this world and it would be interesting to see the impact that Brigitte and BBC’s documentary goes on to have as it shines the light bright on the disturbing practice.
BBC Africa continues to tell important stories and inspire necessary conversations.