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Cinema: Yancouba Badji recounts his journey to cross the Mediterranean


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In the documentary “Tilo Koto”, the Senegalese painter Yancouba Badji recounts the ordeals he had to go through to reach Europe. A long journey of several years.

Between 2015 and 2016, Yancouba Badji, like thousands of young Africans, tried to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean. “You have to be really crazy to go through this”, assures the one who tells his itinerary in the documentary Tilo Koto. When his father died, he left Senegal and his native Casamance, which had been plagued by conflict for forty years. Exiled in Gambia, Yancouba Badji was forced to flee the dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh.

I attempted to cross the Mediterranean four times”, says the artist-painter. Three times he was imprisoned, and the fourth time he spent three and a half days in a Zodiac with 152 other people. “We had run out of gas and we stayed without sleeping, without eating, waiting for death”, he describes. Eventually, a Tunisian navy boat spotted their craft. “I stayed in Tunisia for a year and a half”, says Yancouba Badji.

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