The Other?

I love this picture, taken during a play about witchdoctors. This is dr. Koko, and he is eating a snake while the audience scampers away in fear. The purpose of the play was to show how witchdoctors play on fears of their audience, and how they use props such as chemical reactions and rubber snakes to do that. But if you don’t know that background, what you see might well be the image of dark Africa: superstition, backwardness, scary occultism. That’s not the image of Africa that I want to spread. So… lovely picture, but it cannot be used?

Author: johannekekroesbergen

I am an anthropologist of religion and photographer, currently living in Pretoria, South Africa. I wrote my PhD-thesis on narratives about Satanism in Zambia. Currently I am preparing a new research project that uses photography as an ethnographic method. In my free time, I love hiking, safaris and enjoying nature through photography.

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