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Gwenn Dubourthoumieu May 17, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.

The Child Witches of Kinshasa 2011

Gwenn Dubourthoumieu (b.1978, France) became interesting in photography while working in Africa for NGO’s. He has worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2007. He recently moved to Paris and joined the Myop agency. This year, his work “Turkana Warriors” has been short listed at the Sony World Photography Awards and his feature about the child witches of Kinshasa has been awarded the jury’s special prize at the Eight Days Japan International Photojournalism Festival. In 2011, the same work was awarded the jury’s special mention at the Roger Pic Prize and the investigation prize at the European Journalism Festival. Gwenn received the Getty Images Grant for Good for his work “Raped Lives” about sexual violence in the DRC.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photo at an open center for street children in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between 20,000 and 50,000 children live in the streets of Kinshasa. Organized in gangs, they get by, sometimes thanks to theft or prostitution. More than a third of them were chased away from their home in the pretext that they were child witches and responsible of all the troubles of the family (death, unemployment, disease, etc.). The majority of the people in Kinshasa believe they are cursed. More than one hundred new child witches are discovered every month and thrown out in the streets. The faith in witchcraft is profoundly rooted in the Congolese culture, but the phenomenon, which consists in abandoning children by accusing them of witchcraft increased only since the end of 1990’s. In this immense over populated shanty town that is Kinshasa, where 95% of the population live below the poverty line, the children are unproductive mouths to feed.”