Gracia likes watching television – mostly soaps and cartoons, but sometimes the news.
The young woman, tall and thin with braided hair coiled on her head, is doing well at school and wants to be a doctor. In the two-and-a-half years since I last saw her, her life has been transformed. Then, she was living with 30 people in one house, too poor to afford school fees. She had been sent back to DR Congo by her father and step-mother, after living with them in Tottenham, north London, for several years.
She is thought to be among hundreds of African children living in the UK and sent back to DR Congo or Angola after being accused of witchcraft.
The issue came to light in the summer of 2005, when a court in London heard the case of a young girl who was tortured after being accused of being possessed. The jury learnt a new word, kindoki. It is what the Congolese call witchcraft. After I first reported on Gracia’s plight in Kinshasa, one listener was so moved she began sending money to support the girl. (Continue Reading…)