the crocodiles of the wandaogo family

The Crocodiles of the Wandaogo Family
German title: Die Krokodile der Familie Wandaogo

Deutscher Kurzfilmpreis | Sonderformate
Nominiert für den deutschen Kamerapreis in der Kategorie Schnitt
1. Preis langer Dokumentarfilm Borderlands – International Film Festival Bolzano
FBW Prädikat wertvoll

lolafbw-siegel-gold2 Kopie

The Wandaogos were once a royal family in Burkina Faso and their crocodiles were seen as the family’s protectors and bringers of good fortune. Life changed, but the crocodiles remained. For the „elders“ at crocodile lake, the sacrificial ceremonies are a part of life and appreciation of the crocodiles. „The crocodiles are our great, great grandfathers…“ My husband, Salif, as the eldest son, strives to honor the responsibilities. As his memories of the family legend differ, the more persistently he tries to do justice to the traditions.



Each Winter, we travel to the family court with our daughter, Kaddi, and for a few weeks we are part of the big family. The former royal family follows life-determining responsibilities. Daily survival means to succeed again each day. For our Cologne small family ideal, the meeting of strangers and those intimate to us means a new challenge on each journey. Complications and obstacles are pre-programmed. Not only does my husband, torn back and forth between German and Burkina families, change completely. Our daughter becomes more complicated, family life functions on another frequency. In the vortex of oneself, pulled back and forth.

Africa is no fun for Europeans. Exaggerated actions strain tolerance. Every time I ask myself: Why am I here again? Why can’t my husband live with his „little“ family in Africa? Why do we think against each other so much? Why, why why? One thing is sure, when you step on West African soil, everything comes differently than expected. The European lifestyle appears everywhere. The youngest stand in between, observe and take the „prettiest“ of everything for themselves. Nobody cares about it as long as it halfway works.

If you wish get close to a person, you also get closer to yourself.“ Just like this, a person in front of a camera can only show so much of himself as you allow with your own presence. In our European world, seeing means recognition and understanding automatically passes for knowledge. In Africa, this is a mistake. When a European speaks about what he sees, an African speaks about that which he does not see. With each journey to Burkina Faso, I get closer to the every day life of the royal children and the legend of the crocodiles. Meaning of life and spirit without a safety net. „A person alone cannot see far“, says the village. Britta Wandaogo Nov 2002

Hindou + Issa in Tenkodogo



Producer Herbert Schwering
Script | Director Britta Wandaogo
Photography Oliver Schwabe, Britta Wandaogo
Editing Gesa Marten, Britta Wandaogo
Music Rahime Diallo
Production ICON FILM
Co-Production wandaogo production