In 2014, 276 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Northern Nigeria, and forcibly concealed in the Sambasia Forest for three years by the Boko Haram, a violent insurgent organization. May 8 marks the anniversary of the release of 82 of the Nigerian schoolgirls. Chronicling this harrowing tale of captivity and survival is the HBO documentary Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram.
The documentary grants exclusive access to the lives of the freed girls, who were taken to a secret government safe house in the capital of Abuja upon their release. The film will showcase how the young women are coping and adjusting to life after their kidnapping and captivity and how the Nigerian government is dealing with their return back into society.
In the wake of a global media campaign centered around the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which featured global celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzi, huge pressure was placed on the Nigerian government to rescue the girls. The kidnapped girls, known as “The Chibok Girls” are required to live in a protected environment where they have minimal contact with the outside world. Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram will also chronicle reunions with family members they have not seen since their abduction.
Arguably speaking, slavery could be the most prominent connective tissue that binds the past and present experiences of black trauma. Over time, we’ve seen it morph, mutate and multiply into different terms: human trafficking, mass incarceration and child labor. However, as Childish Gambino ever so eloquently put it in his video for “This Is America,” the deep-seated trauma intrinsic to the black experience and the scars that mar many are mired in favor of popular culture trends and society’s tendency to relegate us as mere pieces of minstrelsy and entertainment, which aids in our dehumanization. Hopefully, a documentary like Stolen Daughters can do its part in humanizing the pain of the black experience for the mainstream.
A co-production with BBC2 and ARTE France, Stolen Daughters was directed by Gemma Atwal and Karen Edwards, who also produced it. The film was also executive produced by Fiona Stourton, Sam Bagnall and Nancy Abraham.