“Abandoned by governments, forgotten by the aid community, neglected and abused by entire societies. Africans with mental illness in regions in crisis are resigned to the dark corners of churches, chained to rusted hospital beds, locked away to live behind the bars of filthy prisons,” said Robin Hammond.
Hammond is known for documenting human rights issues around the world e.g. a long term documentary he calls ‘Condemned’ on the lives of the mentally ill in Africa. Hammond has spent years travelling throughout African countries, from Zimbabwe to Congo during the war, as well as Nigeria, refugee camps in Somalia and South Sudan during their referendum.
In 2011, Hammond on his way to document the Sudanese referendum spotted people with mental illness in the new nation of South Sudan, and this became his new mission which gave birth to the book ‘Condemned.’ Hammond told Art Beat the reply he got from his driver when asked what happens to mentally ill people in Sudan – “well, we put them in prisons.”
The heart wrenching photo documentary ‘Condemned,’ perfectly explains the abuse and plights of people with mental illness in a continent where infrastructure and mental have collapsed.
The mentally ill men and women in Juba Central Prison, South Sudan are left to mingle with entire prison population during the day, but held in separate cells in night.