Gambaga witch camp survivor shares experience in Norway

Suuk Laari spent 15 years residing in the Gambaga witch camp. Her account supports the accounts of other camp members who fled for their life after being accused of witchcraft.

 

She will look back on September 2022 as one of her favorite months. Suuk and Samson Laar, the coordinators of the Presbytery and the Gambaga Witch Camp, were invited to the Coast Contemporary Conference in Tromso, Norway, in 2022.

 

Suuk was one of the honored guests.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsors the Coast Contemporary Conference, an annual travel and gathering of artists, art professionals, and the general public. It serves as a forum for discussion and fosters future partnerships between artists and art professionals.

 

There have been five prior editions of these. The conference this year, with the title “Land of Prey, Witchcraft in the 21st century,” sought to increase awareness of the problem of contemporary witch-hunts.

 

From September 26 to October 2, it took place in Tromso and Bergen, both in Norway.

 

 

The master’s thesis written by PhD Research Fellow Larry Ibrahim Mohammed on the Gambaga witch camp served as inspiration for the conference’s theme.

At a ceremony in Tromso, Norway in 2021, the thesis was awarded the Ase Hiorth Lervik medal for the best Master’s thesis that used a gender theoretical perspective.

 

In order to co-curate the conference’s Ghana and the Gambaga section, Larry collaborated with Tanja Sater, the founding and executive director of the Coast Contemporary.

 

In her keynote speech, Suuk Laari described in great detail how she came to be living in the Gambaga witch camp and her experiences there. She called for further education on removing harmful cultural practices as well as a global campaign to combat and criminalize the charge of witchcraft.

When asked what she felt about closing the witch camps, she emphasized that it would only be a surface-level solution. Without the witch camp, she claimed, she would likely have passed away and been forgotten.

 

For his part, Samson Laar pleaded for extra assistance in order to provide food for the ladies in the Gambaga witch camp.

 

As the Go Home Project’s organizer, my main responsibility has been reuniting the ladies with their families and resolving any issues that may have prompted them to move to Gambaga.

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