witch burning in Papua New Guinea

Companylaif photo agency
PhotographerBettina Flitner
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The belief in sorcery in PNG is widely spread. In PNG there is just one doctor for every 10.000 patients, most people do not accept natural causes in case of death of a relative. They belief in the „Sanguma“, that she has used her supernatural power in order to kill another person. The woman, who is spotted as a "witch" is bound naked at a tree and tortured with hot metall in order to get a „confession“. The whole village is watching. Sister Lorena, a catholic nun, is helping the women, who survived a „witch“ burning. A day after my arrvial we heard about a woman, Teno, who was a victim of „Witch burning“. She was locked up in her hut, and severely injured. Sister Lorena brought Teno against the will of aggressive villagers ton the infirmary. She died in the following night. I made also portraits of survivors.

About Photographer

From 1982 to 1986 Bettina Flitner worked as a film editor at the German TV Chanel WDR. In 1986 she studies at the German Film and Television Academy (Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie). Since 1988 she works as a freelance photographer.