Eric Gyamfi WITCHES OF GAMBAGA
Gambaga is a town in the north of Ghana. It is known for being the former capital of the region. It is also known for being the location of an infamous "witches" camp, established around 200 years ago. Today the camp holds about 130 women, who have been stigmatised as being witches, with ages ranging from 17 to one woman being said to be over 90 years old.
When a woman is accused of witchcraft, she is expected to appear in front of the village leader (chief) who then goes on to perform a ritual to ascertain innocence or guilt. The ritual itself consists for the one part, of the slaughter of a hen; lies the hen on its back at the time of death, the accused is innocent, lies the hen face down, it is seen to be a sign of guilt.
In fear of reprisals, many of these women (even some of those cleared of guilt) leave behind their homes and accusers - which in quite a few cases are members of their own family - and seek refuge within the compound of the camp.
"I went to the camp neither to make portraits of “witches”, nor portraits of victims. I went to make portraits of human beings" Eric Gyamfi