West African Journeys

Episodes

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01Spirit Children - The Documentary20090420

Sorious Samura heads to north east Ghana as a starting point for his West African Journeys

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Award-winning journalist Sorious Samura takes a trip through four neighbouring countries in West Africa and in each country, he meets up with someone who takes him on a journey.

The journeys are all different. Some are momentous and life-changing passages, whilst others are quotidian trips undertaken every day to eke out a living.

By following on the footsteps of his hosts, Sorious hears stories which open a window into the challenges, complexities and contradictions of life in modern West Africa.

Programme One begins in Northern Ghana, with the story of one man and his efforts to stop the widespread killing of babies and children in northern Ghana. Cletus Anaaya has made it his life's work to bring an end to the phenomenon known as Spirit Children.

Spirit Children are children who are considered by many people not to be human; they are thought to be evil spirits and their fate is decided by their parents, the soothsayers and the concoction men who often become their executioners.

Cletus works with a local charity called Afrikids and his job takes him all over this region to meet with soothsayers and concoction men to try to persuade them to stop killing children, but as Sorious discovers, it's a tough job; the tradition is deeply engrained in society.

Cletus takes Sorious to meet his old school master who teaches a class of 8 to 12-year-olds under a tree. When Sorious asks the class what should be done with Spirit Children most of class agrees that they should be killed.

All the people involved in the death of one three year old boy talk candidly to Sorious. The father describes how the child couldn't walk and he began to suspect that he was a Spirit Child. The father consulted the soothsayer who Sorious and Cletus meet.

Finally Sorious confronts the concoction man who killed the child. He tells Sorious that he had to give the child three doses of his concoction before he died. Sorious accuses him of murder but the concoction man says that since the child was not human what he did can not be murder.

Cletus takes Sorious on a mission to convince another concoction man to try and persuade him not to take part in the killings. It becomes another shocking encounter. Cletus offers to compensate the concoction man for any income he may lose if he agrees to stop 'treating' Spirit Children.

The concoction man is taken aback by the offer; he can not believe that he is being asked to stop killing these children. He tells Cletus that they must be killed because if they are allowed to live they will kill members of their own family.

01Spirit Children - The Documentary20090421

Sorious Samura heads to north east Ghana as a starting point for his West African Journeys

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Award-winning journalist Sorious Samura takes a trip through four neighbouring countries in West Africa and in each country, he meets up with someone who takes him on a journey.

The journeys are all different. Some are momentous and life-changing passages, whilst others are quotidian trips undertaken every day to eke out a living.

By following on the footsteps of his hosts, Sorious hears stories which open a window into the challenges, complexities and contradictions of life in modern West Africa.

Programme One begins in Northern Ghana, with the story of one man and his efforts to stop the widespread killing of babies and children in northern Ghana. Cletus Anaaya has made it his life's work to bring an end to the phenomenon known as Spirit Children.

Spirit Children are children who are considered by many people not to be human; they are thought to be evil spirits and their fate is decided by their parents, the soothsayers and the concoction men who often become their executioners.

Cletus works with a local charity called Afrikids and his job takes him all over this region to meet with soothsayers and concoction men to try to persuade them to stop killing children, but as Sorious discovers, it's a tough job; the tradition is deeply engrained in society.

Cletus takes Sorious to meet his old school master who teaches a class of 8 to 12-year-olds under a tree. When Sorious asks the class what should be done with Spirit Children most of class agrees that they should be killed.

All the people involved in the death of one three year old boy talk candidly to Sorious. The father describes how the child couldn't walk and he began to suspect that he was a Spirit Child. The father consulted the soothsayer who Sorious and Cletus meet.

Finally Sorious confronts the concoction man who killed the child. He tells Sorious that he had to give the child three doses of his concoction before he died. Sorious accuses him of murder but the concoction man says that since the child was not human what he did can not be murder.

Cletus takes Sorious on a mission to convince another concoction man to try and persuade him not to take part in the killings. It becomes another shocking encounter. Cletus offers to compensate the concoction man for any income he may lose if he agrees to stop 'treating' Spirit Children.

The concoction man is taken aback by the offer; he can not believe that he is being asked to stop killing these children. He tells Cletus that they must be killed because if they are allowed to live they will kill members of their own family.

01Spirit Children - The Documentary20090425
01Spirit Children - The Documentary20090426
01Spirit Children - The Documentary20090427
02The Undercover Journalist - The Documentary20090427

Sorious Samura joins an undercover investigation into human trafficking.

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Award-winning journalist Sorious Samura takes a trip through four neighbouring countries in West Africa and in each country, he meets up with someone who takes him on a journey.

The journeys are all different. Some are momentous and life-changing passages, whilst others are quotidian trips undertaken every day to eke out a living.

By following on the footsteps of his hosts, Sorious hears stories which open a window into the challenges, complexities and contradictions of life in modern West Africa.

Programme Two - The Undercover Journalist

Sorious drops into the middle of an undercover investigation of a Chinese brothel in Accra, Ghana, and the sixteen women who have been trafficked from China to work as prostitutes.

His host is a passionate investigative reporter called Anas Aremeyaw. Anas has won several prestigious international and national awards for his work exposing a complex cross-border human-trafficking syndicate operating in West Africa.

He is the mystery man of Ghanaian journalism because he refuses to allow his face to be photographed for fear that he will be recognised in one of his numerous undercover investigations.

Anas takes Sorious on the last stage of his latest investigation, showing him the Chinese brothel, introducing him to ‘Princess' - a Ghanaian girl who works as a cleaner at the brothel and who Anas has befriended to gain information - and taking him along for the police raid which results in the arrest of the traffickers.

Anas is running a complex and remarkable operation - not only producing what Anas himself describes as "wow factor" journalism, but working closely with a charity and the authorities to get human traffickers prosecuted and their victims returned safely home.

Sorious reflects that, in a continent where journalism is challenged and challenging, Anas is an inspiration.

02The Undercover Journalist - The Documentary20090428

Sorious Samura joins an undercover investigation into human trafficking.

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Award-winning journalist Sorious Samura takes a trip through four neighbouring countries in West Africa and in each country, he meets up with someone who takes him on a journey.

The journeys are all different. Some are momentous and life-changing passages, whilst others are quotidian trips undertaken every day to eke out a living.

By following on the footsteps of his hosts, Sorious hears stories which open a window into the challenges, complexities and contradictions of life in modern West Africa.

Programme Two - The Undercover Journalist

Sorious drops into the middle of an undercover investigation of a Chinese brothel in Accra, Ghana, and the sixteen women who have been trafficked from China to work as prostitutes.

His host is a passionate investigative reporter called Anas Aremeyaw. Anas has won several prestigious international and national awards for his work exposing a complex cross-border human-trafficking syndicate operating in West Africa.

He is the mystery man of Ghanaian journalism because he refuses to allow his face to be photographed for fear that he will be recognised in one of his numerous undercover investigations.

Anas takes Sorious on the last stage of his latest investigation, showing him the Chinese brothel, introducing him to ‘Princess' - a Ghanaian girl who works as a cleaner at the brothel and who Anas has befriended to gain information - and taking him along for the police raid which results in the arrest of the traffickers.

Anas is running a complex and remarkable operation - not only producing what Anas himself describes as "wow factor" journalism, but working closely with a charity and the authorities to get human traffickers prosecuted and their victims returned safely home.

Sorious reflects that, in a continent where journalism is challenged and challenging, Anas is an inspiration.

02The Undercover Journalist - The Documentary20090502
02The Undercover Journalist - The Documentary20090503
02The Undercover Journalist - The Documentary20090504
03Episode 3 - The Documentary20090504

Sorious Samura is in Liberia investigating child soldiers in the third part of this series

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Sorious Samura is in Liberia investigating child soldiers in the third of this four part series.

This trip to Liberia is an intensely personal journey for Sorious - the last time he was here in 2000 he was imprisoned along with three colleagues on a charge of espionage, a capital offence.

After a week in prison in which he was tortured he and his team were released following personal appeals to the then President, Charles Taylor from, amongst others, Nelson Mandela and Jesse Jackson.

Liberia is still recovering from the brutal 14-year-long civil war. Sorious is back in the country to follow the journey of a 26 year-old woman called ‘Black Diamond' as she travels hundreds of miles across Liberia in search of the daughter she calls 'Beloved'. The child was born after Diamond, then aged 15, was raped by government soldiers. During the rape her parents tried to defend her and were killed. Fuelled by anger she joined the rebels to become one of Liberia's most infamous child soldiers.

This documentary is a story within a story. After years of fighting as a rebel soldier in LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) she gained a fearsome reputation and her nom de guerre; Black Diamond.

One story, often repeated by western journalists, is that she wore a necklace of testicles as a war trophy, a story Black Diamond vehemently denies and as she takes Sorious on her very personal journey she is at pains to tell him her version of the war.

But there are others she must tell. It's been seven years since Diamond last saw her daughter. The child is now looked after by Diamond's uncle. He doesn't know that Beloved's father was one of the men who raped his niece and killed his brother and sister-in-law.

Now Diamond has decided it's time he and the rest of her family know the truth.

03Episode 3 - The Documentary20090505

Sorious Samura is in Liberia investigating child soldiers in the third part of this series

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Sorious Samura is in Liberia investigating child soldiers in the third of this four part series.

This trip to Liberia is an intensely personal journey for Sorious - the last time he was here in 2000 he was imprisoned along with three colleagues on a charge of espionage, a capital offence.

After a week in prison in which he was tortured he and his team were released following personal appeals to the then President, Charles Taylor from, amongst others, Nelson Mandela and Jesse Jackson.

Liberia is still recovering from the brutal 14-year-long civil war. Sorious is back in the country to follow the journey of a 26 year-old woman called ‘Black Diamond' as she travels hundreds of miles across Liberia in search of the daughter she calls 'Beloved'. The child was born after Diamond, then aged 15, was raped by government soldiers. During the rape her parents tried to defend her and were killed. Fuelled by anger she joined the rebels to become one of Liberia's most infamous child soldiers.

This documentary is a story within a story. After years of fighting as a rebel soldier in LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) she gained a fearsome reputation and her nom de guerre; Black Diamond.

One story, often repeated by western journalists, is that she wore a necklace of testicles as a war trophy, a story Black Diamond vehemently denies and as she takes Sorious on her very personal journey she is at pains to tell him her version of the war.

But there are others she must tell. It's been seven years since Diamond last saw her daughter. The child is now looked after by Diamond's uncle. He doesn't know that Beloved's father was one of the men who raped his niece and killed his brother and sister-in-law.

Now Diamond has decided it's time he and the rest of her family know the truth.

03Episode 3 - The Documentary20090509
03Episode 3 - The Documentary20090511