Produced and Directed by:
Mally Graveson & Toby Trueman
World Alzheimer Day - 21st September 2019
A Namibian pastor faces a deadly mix of ancient culture, fear, and superstition as he embarks on a mission to prevent innocent people from being drugged, chained and murdered in a campaign for the freedom of the mentally ill.
60yr old Berrie is a Namibian pastor, dementia specialist, and charity head. While visiting a remote bush community in 2012 he came across a woman alone in a decrepit mud hut, chained to a post. Accused of being a witch, she had been there for over 20 years. Quickly diagnosing her with dementia, he negotiated her release and began a campaign for the freedom of the mentally ill and to prevent more innocent people from being drugged, chained or murdered. But Berrie is facing a deadly mix of ancient culture, fear, superstition, and a lack of education that reaches across sub-Saharan Africa. With the odds stacked heavily against him, Berrie begins a seemingly impossible journey to raise awareness and fight for change.
There have been numerous accounts of Berrie’s work and the story of Ndjinaa’s release from two decades of chains. Below are some of the reports and interviews with Berrie and those involved:
A report from Koo’s, Berrie’s close friend and owner of Epupa Falls Lodge. He works closely with the Himba and is instrumental in maintaining the dementia village and caring for Ndjinaa.
A photo essay from Africa Geographic detailing Koo’s and Berrie’s involvement with the Himba people, as well as Ndjinaa’s story.
A detailed report on Ndjinaa, based on an interview with Berrie
Alzheimer's Dementia Namibia and the Michelle Group
The charity and dementia care initiative headed by Berrie. The blog features first hand information and stories from Berrie's travels around Namibia and the people he meets. There are many eye opening accounts of people accused of witchcraft by their own families, but also hope in the good work being carried out by ADN.
You can also find out more on Dementia Namibia’s facebook page
Alzheimer's Disease International
Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) is the umbrella organisation of Alzheimer associations around the world. ADI aims to help establish and strengthen Alzheimer associations and to raise global awareness about Alzheimer's disease and all other causes of dementia. More information can be found at www.alz.co.uk
Alzheimer Scotland is the leading dementia organisation in Scotland. They campaign for the rights of people with dementia and their families and provide an extensive range of innovative and personalised support services and a 24/7, 365 free phone helpline 0808 808 3000. Alzheimer Scotland’s work is underpinned by a human rights based approach and a charter of rights for people with dementia and their carers was established in 2009. www.alzscot.org
Shara was instrumental in the genesis of the African Witchfinder project. A travel photographer and essayist, she had previously visited Namibia and the Himba, learning of Berrie’s work. It was Shara who brought Berrie’s story to Heehaw and suggested it could make the basis of a film project. Shara accompanied the film crew on the preliminary shoot, and you can read more insight on the topics discussed in the film on her blog, along with many photos taken over the course of the shoot in early 2016. http://skjtravel.net/index.php/15-features/346-namibia-ii-archive