Before coming to the camp, I was a seamstress and did some farming on the side to feed my family. My brother accused me of being responsible for the death of his son, my nephew. He accused me because we had argued a few months before his son’s death.
I came to the camp to see the fetish priest and prove my innocence. It has been a year and a half now. I have decided to stay because I feel that that I am in a community where I belong which gives me a sense of identity. I feel safe here. I feel like I can’t and will never go back to my home village due to the social stigma attached to being accused of witchcraft. I feel like the Gnani camp is my home.
I am very intelligent and very proud to be one of the very few women who can make shea butter in the camp.
Waampu, 60 years old
I have been here for 16 years now. I was a shea butter maker in my former village. When my brother-in-law’s son died, I was accused of being responsible and severely beaten. I was opposed to the relationship between my brother-in-law and my sister, which resulted in her ending the relationship. I think that's why I was accused.
If asked where I am from, I acknowledge both places, Nyanpkani-my hometown, and the Gnani camp. I do resent my old community for beating me when I was accused but I still miss it sometimes. I am adamant it would have been different should I have been a man or should I have given birth to 3 boys instead of just one girl.
I prefer living in the Gnani camp. If I went back, I would be accused again. I feel like wherever I go, I carry the stigma of being accused of witchcraft.
Bimbaa, 75 years old
I came to the camp when I was 55 years old. Prior to moving to the camp, I was a farmer and worked alongside my husband. When my nephew died I was accused of being a witch and I was badly beaten. Like Ama, I chose to come to the camp to see the fetish priest and prove my innocence. In the end, I decided to stay because I did not want to face the stigma of being accused. I am sure if I went back, I would once again be accused if someone else died
My old community is no more to me. My hometown is the Gnani camp. Here, I am the Magaziya, the women’s leader. I speak on behalf of them when there are important gatherings. I come and go as I please from the camp. As a matter of fact, I left the camp to go live with my father in Togo for a while. When he passed away, I came back to the camp because here I feel important and respected. I am very confident, resourceful and skilful person. I am proud to say I can make Pito-the local wine.
Walyia, 16 years old (left) and Ayisha, 17 years old (right)
We were both born in the camp. Though we are not considered witches, we often get called names at school and asked questions about our family. We try not to let these accusations affect us and simply explain that we are human beings just like them.
I am very brilliant and perform very well at school. I want to be a nurse in order to help develop my community and the healthcare standards in the camp. I am very proud of being from the Gnani camp. I prefer living by my parents’ side but will move if education requires me too. I am open to marrying from anywhere (laugh).