Review: Unreported World Puts things into a Little Perspective

October 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Channel 4, Friday 17th October, 7:35pm  Alert me

Here we are in the throws of what appears to be the most substantial financial crisis in this country yet. People are quietly panicking, scared that their lives will somehow be altered.  But what we need not immediately concern ourselves with– so far as I know- is the threat of having someone pounce on us at any moment to cut off our body parts while still alive to use for their medicine.

Unreported World, Channel 4’s acclaimed foreign affairs series, returns this Friday with a startlingly horrific investigation into ‘Muti Murder’ in South Africa.   Set against a backdrop of an increasingly modernised country, people are left to die after their body parts have been removed to be ingredients in potions of traditional medicinal magic in the booming commercialization of murder.  Poor people are killing to profit from the sale of body parts to Sangomas (traditional medicine men).  Reporter Ramita Navai travels from the Eastern Cape to the Limpopo province in the north meeting victims who have miraculously survived bodily disfigurement, disheartened police investigators and even a practising Sangoma himself.

The pace never really slows with Navai hopping in and out of trucks in the early hours following her next lead.  Interviews with the survivors of Muti attacks are heart wrenching. One, a girl, who woke up to her lips being removed as her boyfriend lay dead mutilated beside her points out the spot where it happened.  Another named Fortune, a young boy (children’s part are thought to be more powerful), is too traumatised to explain how his testicles were sliced off.  Perhaps the most shocking of her interviews is with the Sangoma, who confirms that he would do the same to his own children were it to increase his power.

“What’s happening is spoiling the reputation of South Africa” says Fortune’s father.  Indeed, but more than this, innocent people are being tortured and killed.  Watch this tonight for a bit of a reality check.

By Susan Allen