Suicide Stories: Are Kenya’s Men in Crisis?
Filmed in Kenya
Commissioned by BBC Africa Eye
This piece looks at the topic of modern masculinity in Africa, investigating suicide amongst Kenyan men. Over the last 12 months, 70 people have taken their lives in Nyandarua. Almost all of those who have committed suicide were men overwhelmed by financial troubles. In African culture, men are meant to be strong, not vulnerable. It is very rare for men to talk about their problems in public, even at the local bar over a drink, as it is frowned upon as a sign of weakness. Mental health problems are poorly understood and counselling services are practically non-existent in this part of the world. Many people are too poor even to see a doctor and rely on traditional healers. Without help, increasing numbers of men turn to death as the only way out, even though it is a taboo in this conservative community.
Based in Kenya, Peter has been a documentary director for over 15 years, making films about hard-hitting social issues, from police extra-judicial killings to prostitution. He won the CNN African Journalist of the year in 2004 for his piece Walk to Womanhood, has had work featured by IRIN, BBC and Al Jazeera, and is currently a freelancer with the BBC’s Africa Eye investigative unit.
“It was an incredible piece of work. The reason it stuck out to me was the subtlety and the way it was structured: film, script, music. It was all tastefully done. The most extraordinary part was the intimacy that Peter was able to achieve…It was incredibly engaging from start to finish.”
Series Producer, Unreported World, Channel 4