In the Unreported World episode, The Cursed Twins, aired on May 9th, reporter Kiki King unmasks the taboo against twins in city of Mananjary located on the isolated east coast of Madagascar. It is a taboo that has left children abandon and mothers rejected from society for keeping them.
The true origin of the taboo is unclear, but it is believed that a long time ago a woman forgot one of her twins in a village during a battle that caused everyone to flee. When the tribe came back to save the baby, they were all killed. Twins were then considered unlucky and a taboo to raise, which still lives on to this day.
The tribe elders are believed to communicate with the dead ancestors who control all aspects of the life of these people, including the curse of the twins.
In the episode one of the elders said that “People keeping twins have no soul.”
The mayor of Mananjary is set to change the view that people have on twins and takes the reporter around Mananjary.
“Nowadays we have got the struggle for human rights and twins are humans. They are members of the community. Why reject them?” he said.
He has set up a camp for families, with many single mothers, who were forced to move because they wanted to keep their children. As Kiki said in the episode: “Women have to live as refugees because they refused to abandon their twins.
It is not common that the twins get adopted locally. The majority of them get adopted by French parents, especially as a French organisation runs an orphanage in Mananjary.
However, the episode follows a premature new born girl who was abandon by her parents, even if her twin died. She then gets adopted by a local woman who is a 40 year old teacher who never had any children.
Kiki finds the little girls biological parents who live in a remote village. The sadness in their eyes is visible and the father even said that young people want to change the taboo and keep their twins. However, they are too scared of the curse, and probably the pressure from the elders that they will be unblessed.
This episode of Unreported World clearly shows how important education is. It is very clear when comparing the views of the people living in the city and the people living in the remote areas.
Many people in the west may not always appreciate going to school because it may be boring, but with education we learn to read and explore facts and ideas. Those are very important factors that open eyes and minds.
The views of the elders can’t be changed, but by educating future generations the taboo will despair, it may take decades, but it is happening.