DER Documentary

Mammy Water: In Search of the Water Spirits In Nigeria


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by Sabine Jell-Bahlsen
color, 60 min, 1989




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Mammy Water is a pidgin English name for a local water goddess worshipped by the Ibibio, Ijaw, and Igbo speaking peoples of southeastern Nigeria. The water goddess traditionally gives wealth and children, compensates for hardships, and is sought in times of illness and need, especially by women. Her various cults are led, predominantly, by priestesses.

This acclaimed documentary shows numerous rituals and ceremonies associated with Mammy Water, while devotees provide commentary. This is an important depiction of the strength of traditional religion in contemporary Nigeria and one of the few academically sound investigations of the role of women in an African spiritual movement.

“The most important ethnographic film on the region to date... I highly recommend it for courses in African anthropology and religion, art history, and women's studies.” — Prof. Sidney L. Kasfir, Dept. of Art History, Emory University
“Superb and fast-flowing. It's nearly perfect.” — Dr. Robert Farris Thompson, Yale University, author of Flash of the Spirit

Related Resources
Goddesses in World Culture by Patricia MonaghaView more photos on www.flickr.com

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