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Encountering Eloyi

Encountering Eloyi. © R Werbner

Series The Well Being Quest in Botswana
Director Richard Werbner
Country/Production UK
Release 2008
Length 56 mins
Format Colour / DVD / PAL / All region
Location Botswana / Africa
Language Tswapong, English (English sub
University University of Manchester
Comments Special price 4 for 3, when buying the whole series

Order No RAI-200.337
Sale Info See Film Prices General Collection
Hire Info See Film and Video Hire

Of all the faith-healing churches in Botswana, Eloyi is the most controversial. Sensational stories in newspapers and on television have made Eloyi notorious for so-called witch-busting and for exorcising demons. Known as tokoloshi, they appear like a nightmare image of an overwhelming consumer society. While attacking traditional ritual as Satan’s work, Eloyi brings back, in a Christian or even more remarkably Old Testament guise, many old Tswana practices. Rarely in the ritual of other churches is empathy for others’ and their mortal frailty so powerfully realised as in this Apostolic church during a séance.

The film shows the impact of such empathy and the demonic in the lives of a childless couple, Martha and Njebe, originally from the countryside and now settled in Botswana’s capital city.

After a long quest for healing by traditional doctors and gynaecological treatment by Western hospitals, Martha chooses to seek help from Eloyi. Her choice widens the gulf between her own faith and her husband Njebe’s scepticism. It also involves her in tensions between Eloyi’s city branch and its village headquarters, between the church’s city bishop and his father, the archbishop.

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