Once upon a time the river nomads of Niger river

The foundation of this research project is a trilogy of three documentary movies that explore three main issues:

1. The documentary called ‘Once upon a time‘ addresses the history of this group of itinerant fishermen, its origins through a journey on the Niger river that leads us from Niger (around Kandadji dam) to Nigeria (Yauri, situated North of Kainji dam). In Nigeria, the fishermen sell smoked and dried fish they have accumulated during several months in Niger or Mali, they buy new items and visit relatives and friends. The movie investigates their trading and social  networks in Nigeria. This movie has not been shot yet but we hope to do it in November 2016.

2. ‘River Nomads‘ is the first edited documentary of this series of three. It deals with the central question of why are nomadic fishermen vanishing. We follow a group of six pinnaces travelling upstream between Nigeria and Niger/Mali.

3. The last part of this trilogy – ‘Niger River‘ – focuses on their daily life in host societies, their fishing activities and conservation techniques, their struggles to get access to property, rights and resources. These rights are threatened by the building of the Kandadji dam since the islands they occupy so far will be flooded and local authorities have already anticipated the process of land allocation by confiscating their national identity cards (pretending they are not true Nigeriens) and denying them any rights to land.

By Eric Hahonou