Shade Seekers and The Mixer

© Werbner
60 minutes / Colour / 2006
Directed by
Richard Werbner


Country of production United Kingdom

Series The Well-Being Quest in Botswana

Set in Moremi village within Botswana’s awesome Tswapong hills, the film makes village elders self-consciously reflexive. The elders, including a controversial healer, view and discuss an earlier film of his séances with a participant, a former patient, now the anthropologist’s research assistant. Their main subject is Seriti. Literally ‘Shade’, the idea ties dignity, power and charisma to the light in which a person is seen by others, the dead and the ancestors above all. The healer’s own Seriti is regarded at risk. He is accused of polluting the earth, of wrongly mixing the Christian and the non-Christian, of making the public private for personal gain. Elders condemn him but he defends his God-given mission for ‘the original way’. The film discloses the intimate play of light and dark in villagers’ lives, their concern for well-being and the public good, against the background of séances, a funeral, a wedding, and a sacrifice to restore communication with the ancestors.

Language and subtitles English and Tswapong with English Subtitles

Region Southern Africa

Country Botswana

Keywords Health / Health care / Healing Religion / Belief / Faith Informant-researcher relationship