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tv   Our World  BBC News  May 19, 2018 9:30pm-10:01pm BST

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this is bbc world news. the headlines... prince harry and the american actress meghan markle have been married at st george's chapel in windsor. they exchanged vows in front of 600 guests in a ceremony watched by millions of people around the world. the new duke and duchess of sussex, as the couple are now to be known, emerged on the steps of the chapel for a kiss, before being driven around windsor in a carriage, cheered on by thousands of well—wishers. investigators in cuba say they have found a black box data recorder from the site of a plane crash in which 110 people are now confirmed to have been killed on friday. only three passengers survived the crash near havana airport. two people remain critically ill after being injured in friday's school shooting in the us state of texas. ten people were killed. a 17—year—old student has been charged with their murder. at ten o'clock vikki young will be here with a full
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round—up of the day's news. first, our world. this is ghana, west africa. when i was seven, i was brought to this country, and forced into a system i knew nothing about. this is me. i was held as a slave in a religious shrine. what crime is this child paying for? translation: her uncle committed adultery. thousands of women across west africa have lost their freedom because of a practice called trokosi. and it is still happening. does she know why she is here? now i am on a journey to try and understand what happened. to find answers to questions i have had on my mind for years. what is trokosi?
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and why did my family give me away? hey, this is brigitte... yeah, you are my uber. my name is brigitte sossou perenyi. i live and work in accra, the capital city of ghana. it is the city where i feel most free. but my first memories in this country are among my darkest. i was trafficked here from my home in neighbouring togo, and held in captivity as part of a practice called trokosi. trokosi is illegal, and it is not often talked about in accra.
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but to my surprise, richard tells me his own grandmother is living as a trokosi. this same system robbed me of my childhood. 20 years later, i am on a journey to understand what really happened. i was told i had to leave home, to go and live with my uncle. i was placed on the back of a motorbike. i didn't even know the driver. i thought it was the strong wind causing my tears, but i think i was actually crying, because i was being taken away from my family. and then i was left at a place i had never been before.
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i didn't even understand the language. they took away my clothes and wrapped me in a purple cloth. they even took away my name. how old is this girl? seven years old? do you know why you are here? in 1997 i was filmed by an american news crew at the place i was being held, a shrine run by a priest dictated to the worship of deities. i was labelled a trokosi, a ‘wife of the gods,‘ paying for a crime committed by a family member. do you miss your parents? yes. i rememberfeeling a range of emotions. neglect, rejection, isolation.
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adding to that the idea of, that could have been my life, that could have been my life. and that's why i feel like i don't watch it much. but this report changed everything. with the help of a charity called international needs, an american viewer flew to ghana to negotiate my release. his name was kenneth perenyi, and he would become my adoptive father. he took me to the us where i spent the next 13 years. i was relieved to be out after about a year in the shrine. but there was a huge emptiness that could never be filled. i was still thinking about my togolese family, my birth family. but it was in my heart in my mind. i never stopped thinking about them. a few years later, my american dad
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and i agreed i should go and look for them. the charity that freed me helped me find my village and filmed my return. my family had no idea i was coming. i didn't even know if i would find all of them alive. i hadn't seen my mother since i was seven years old. ifound out i even had a little brother who i had never met. that day was so surreal. almost like a dream.
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now that i'm older, i feel ready to explore the cultural background of trokosi. it is practised in parts of ghana, togo and benin, by various ethnic groups, one of which is the ewe. i am driving into ghana's volta region, a lush area of lakes and rivers, where trokosi is most prevalent. right now we are following richard whom i met on the first day of the journey. after our chat in the uber taxi, richard invited us into his community to speak with a group of ewe elders. to mark our arrival, they were saying prayers and pouring
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libation to their gods. but they believe if you offend the gods, they can bring misfortune. i would like to know if there has ever been human sacrifice. he is talking about trokosi, where you are banished from the community to pay for the crimes of your family. another elder tells me that two of her relatives were sent to the shrine. given this fear of punishment
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from the gods, i can understand why the trokosi practice has survived for over 300 years. but for me, life in the shrine meant no life at all. each day, i was woken at 5am, and sent to fetch water. i had to carry heavy buckets on my head. it was hard, physical work for a child. i was made to sweep the compound and work long hours on the farm. i wasn't allowed to play,
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or even go to school. i was in total isolation. 0n the campus of the university of ghana, i am meeting up with dr robert ame and reverend walter pimpong. they are both experts on the trokosi practice. they have spent their lives raising awareness of the abuses that go on in the shrine. sexual servitude was common, and many women will bear the children of the priests. i was liberated before puberty, so i didn't have to go through this. but i wanted to know why someone would serve time for another person's crime.
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it is believed that they have a right to select any member of their family to serve in the shrine, whether that person committed a crime or not. by the collective principles, they believe they are doing the right thing. when i left the shrine in 1997, there were about 5,000 trokosi women and children in ghana alone. thousands were liberated and trokosi was made illegal in 1998. but no priest has ever been prosecuted, and the practice still goes on. i meet back up with richard, the uber driver whose grandmother is still living as a trokosi. she is one of the few who became a trokosi after she married and had children. speaking to her, it seemed
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she is happy to be serving as a trokosi, because she believes it protects her family. as night fell, a young trokosi girl wearing a blue cloth came to speak to me. i felt sad because she misses her mum.
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and i know how that feels. for me, growing up without a mother was devastating. what kept me going was a few cherished memories of my early childhood. i remember my mum and dad and four siblings, all girls. i'm the second. i was closer to my dad. i think i was a daddy's girl. for dinner, he would build this big fire. he would dig the ground around it and roast corn, peanuts, sweet potatoes and yam. it was so good.
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it was really good. i remember at night, we would lie under the stars and the moon. life was simple. i'm going to visit my family in the village in togo where i was born. it is at least a day's journey from the volta region in ghana. i haven't been back for a few years. ifelt apprehensive. i have spent my whole life wondering why they gave me away, but i have never had the courage to ask. this time, i feel ready to find out the truth. this is it.
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0n the right. it is right here, on the right. since i left at the age of seven, i have lost my mother tongue. i have visited a handful of times but i have to use a translator. my youngest sister, and her baby. my niece. i wanted to speak to my father. all i knew was that one of my uncles had sent for me, but i have never known what my father had agreed to. my uncle's house was in the capital
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lome, a long way from my village. to find some answers, my father went to a soothsayer. are you aware now where i was taken? he took me to ghana, the volta region of ghana, and i was left in a shrine, he left me. i was forced to be there for the rest of my life. you are not understanding me.
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i don't want to use the word blame. for many years i was sad because i was not with my family but now i am ready to put it behind me. if i was angry at my family, i want to blame, i wouldn't be here. i wouldn't. sometimes it is easierjust to carry on with your life. accept the way things are. when things don't make sense, tracing your roots and asking questions is too much, the emotions are too much and the weight is too much. by now, my head hurts. i have a headache. last night's conversation
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with my dad was really difficult, but i needed to know the truth. i was dwelling on the fact that i couldn't communicate with them and i was taken away and that is because, that's why i can't speak french, that's why i can't speak ewe, i was taken away. so i was sort of dwelling on the negative. my parents were lied to. they thought they sent me to live with my uncle to get a better education. they didn't choose to send me to the shrine, and that was a huge weight off my mind. from this point forward we can only build, and the last few days is a start to building that bridge, it's a start to building that relationship, building that connection. i'm back in the volta region of ghana, close to the village where i was held captive in the shrine.
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being here is not easy for me. but feeling the love of my family has given me strength to return. there was a young girl, i was doing the chores with, and her name is christiana. she was the only one i remember. we parked up near the shrine. i was paralysed with fear. what i remember about this place is pain and loneliness and sadness, and isolation. and, um, getting out and walking about, doesn't feel natural to me. i wanted to see if christiana was still here. i found her still living in the town. 20 years after we were both freed, we recognised each other right away. do you know who i am?
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yes. who am i? thank god for your life. we haven't seen each other in so long. i miss you. laughs. thank you. i missed you too. i have always thought of you. after spending five years in the shrine, christiana was also freed after appearing in the 1997 news report. she had never seen it before. are you happy here? do you want to run away? and why don't you run away? where are your parents? they died? translation: when my father died i stopped going to school, even though i had wanted to become a doctor. i feel very sad because by staying here, i have lost my
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chance at an education. that's not your life any more. why are you crying? what's wrong? yes, we were not supposed to be in there, but we are out now. we are out now. it was amazing to hear about christiana's life outside of the shrine. i'm free. i can decide to go to anywhere.
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today i can eat, if i say today i will eat, then i can eat, if only i have money. ican wearanything. she showed me her tattoo celebrating her reclaimed name. how does that make you feel when you see that. i feel happy. why? because i am... i am that i am. laughs. that is my name. yes. the name that my parents gave to me. sometimes, your past is worth getting back to. not to hold you back but to strengthen your future. my deep faith in god and the love of my family and friends have allowed me to grow into the person i was born to be. somebody decided that was supposed to be our lives. it is incredible that we have been
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given a second chance, to have life. sometimes the british weather can do the right thing on the big occasion. glorious on saturday, whatever you we re glorious on saturday, whatever you were doing. and as for sunday, more of the same for many but not all because although a high pressure is still close by come there is a
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weather front coming into the north—west and that means for scotla nd north—west and that means for scotland and northern ireland there is more cloud compared to saturday and some rain. possiblejust about anywhere in northern ireland but nowhere will be raining all day and some places might escape it. in scotland, the rain mostly in the west and north of glasgow, much of eastern scotland will be dry, some sunny spells in the north—east. more cloud in northern england, wales and the midlands but it will do is bid from east anglia and southern england and there should be plenty of the afternoon sunshine and warm compared to saturday but with the rain it will be caller. through sunday night and into monday morning, this front gets a new lease of life and some of the rain will heavy, particularly in the far north—west of mainland scotland and the western isles. and a further west you are in northern ireland. away from this band there will be drier weather with cloud sunny spot and in england and world some cloud
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building but still plenty of sunshine. the odd shower or thunderstorm in parts of southern england and wales. we will keep an eye on that. monday into tuesday, this front of the far north—west will be weakening. there will be some thicker cloud, particularly in the north of scotland, some patchy light rain or drizzle pavic die away. cloud and sunshine in northern ireland and mostly dry in england but through the day there is the charts are based shower or thunderstorm breaking out. by no means everyone will get them, they will be fairly isolated. if you do there will be a splash of rain that you might not have had for a while. on wednesday, similar for england and wales, some sunnis build the of eight shamal or thunderstorm. —— some sunny eight shamal or thunderstorm. —— some sunny spells. the template is
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coming out the bid because we start to pick up an easterly flow with high pressure in scandinavia and we also have high pressure to the south—west pulls up between that there might be some convergence in there might be some convergence in the winds. maybe a few more downpours developing. some warm sunny spells away from the north sea coast. looking at the picture into next weekend, it is dominated by high—pressure to the east and west of us. that means it is going to be predominately dry and still reasonably warm although temperatures might come down a bit compared to the mid—20s we have had midweek because of that easterly flow. pressure remaining high means the weather for next weekend and the start of the following week is dry, warner sunny spells but with the easterly flow, expects template is
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on the east coast to be cooler and there is a chance of a shower or thunderstorm but in terms of any widespread wet weather, it does not look on the cards for now. this is bbc news. i'm vicky young. the headlines at 10pm... prince harry and meghan markle have been married at a ceremony in st george's chapel, windsor, in a royal wedding that's been watched across the world. the bride arrived at the chapel with ten pageboys and bridesmaids and wearing a dress by a female british designer. prince charles accompanied meghan markle down the final part of the aisle while prince harry and her mother looked on. meghan, i give you this ring. as a sign of our marriage. with my body, i honour you.
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all that i am i give to you.
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