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About us

Eric Komlavi HAHONOU,

Eric Hahonou is an anthropologist, researcher at Roskilde University in Denmark ( He is member of  LASDEL (, a research institution based in Benin and Niger where Eric stayed for 10 years. His core research interest lies in citizenship studies, state-society relations, the functioning of the state, the social fabric of marginality and the dynamic of social and political inclusion/exclusion.
Eric made a first documentary with Frederic Châles and Camilla Strandsbjerg (Yesterday’s slaves, 2011) about the struggles of people of slave origins in Northern Benin. . Eric has a passion for fishing and travelling.

Photo of Sani Boureima and Lotte Pelckmans. Lotte is an anthropologist who has been working on former nomadic cattle herders (Fulani) in central Mali since 2001. She has done work on internal african slavery, social inequality, human rights, social movements and migration. She has met the river nomads the first time with Eric in 2011, when the latter granted permission and expressed their enthusiasm for a documentary about their life. During the fieldwork, Lotte spend most time with the women and children inside the boats in order to do justice to the views and share of women in being and becoming a River Nomad.

Sani Boureima was born and grew up in Niamey (Niger) along the Niger river where his father owned a plot of land. He did not attend much school but learned a bit of French and a lot of Zarma and Hausa. His father taught him how to cultivate, to fish and to be a good muslim. Armed with his skills, courage and openness, Sani has learned many trades. His friendship and collaboration with Eric led him to become a professional tour operator on the Niger river. He knows the river by heart between Gaya and Niamey where he used to travel with tourists. He also travelled twice to Timbuktu with tourists until the war broke out in Mali.

Fredéric Châles is a professional photographer who turned to camera and video. He lives in France, near Tours. He travels around the world to produce video reports, mainly sport related. Eric and Fred met in Paris in 2009 and decided to shoot a movie on the struggles of slaves’ descendants in the Northern part of Benin where Eric had conducted research. The documentary film entitled Yesterday’s slaves came out in 2011. Together with Lotte, Eric and Fred’s family, Fred embarked his camera and talent on the River nomad project in December 2013. He is the one to praise for the nice footage.


By Eric Hahonou