In 1960 the pharmaceutical firm Warner-Chilcott released Maganga (Jungle Doctors), an obscure documentary produced by “Tarzan” cinematographer Miki Carter that purported to show the development of ‘modern’ medicine in Africa as it replaced ‘old Africa’s’ reliance on superstition and witchdoctors. The film carries the patronising narration that one might expect, but the documentary is remarkable as an early compilation film made up of stock and original footage from African medical sites, images of East African notables such as renowned healer Kabwere from the Coast Province, and an extraordinary segment showing a Kenyan trepanation surgery – which serves as the key plot twist in the film. Dr Sloan Mahone (University of Oxford) will be introducing the screening.
Dr Mahone specialises in the history of psychiatry and the psychological sciences in Africa. She has extensive experience in East, Southern and Central Africa, dating back to the Peace Corps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire). Her recent research has focussed on East Africa, particularly Kenya and Zanzibar. Dr Sloan Mahone's current project deals extensively with photography and visual sources, particularly related to neurology and psychiatry. She also teaches and supervises in the history of Global Psychiatry; the Psychology of Religion; and Gender and Sexuality.