Kotosa is a documentary about SubSaharan elderly in Brussels, Belgium. Kotosa means ‘to respect’ in Lingala, the official language in the Democratic Republic of Congo. DRC is a former colony of Belgium, so we share a turbulent and at times violent past – and present.
In Brussels almost 30 percent of the elderly (65+) have an immigrant background. It’s a very diverse group. Sub-Saharan elderly is apart from the West-European, South-European, Moroccan and Turkish elderly, still a small but diverse and fast-growing group.
In comparison to our neighbouring countries the Netherlands and Germany we feel we are lagging behind on accessible care for immigrant elderly. Barriers remain very high.
Most of the elderly using these services are white, whereas much of the staff has an immigrant, in particularly a SubSaharan, background. At the beginning of this project, we believed it was interesting to search for people on this “cross road”: nurses and care givers of African descent, working in Brussels in the ‘white’ environment of classical, home care and nursing homes. We found four women testifying in the documentary. They are in a unique position to reflect upon two “cultures of care” in which they belong both, and by doing so they can offer a mirror to the
Kotosa raises a lot of questions for debate. Racism in care organisations is one of them. The “making of” was a continuous learning process for the group for we too had to deal with
differences. Now we go “on tour” to show the film in care organisations, churches, social
services and classrooms. If you are interested in seeing the film too, please contact me by e-mail. I will send you the Vimeo-link with password and some instructions!