The Cursed Twins

Channel 4: Unreported World

Reporter Kiki King and Director David Fuller visit the isolated East coast of Madagascar to explore a taboo against twins which leads to mothers becoming outcasts and newborn babies being abandoned. They meet the people fighting to stop this ancient curse. 

No-one is quite sure how the taboo against twins, and the belief they bring bad luck arose, but most stories talk about an ancient battle which caused a tribe to flee their village. One mother forgot one of her twins and when the villagers returned to save it, they were all massacred. The tribe’s elders then declared it taboo to raise twins.

King and Fuller meet Ursula, the mother of two twins, Giovanni and Venua. She says that when they were born her husband told her to abandon them and refused to recognise them legally. Ursula refused to give them up and moved in with her sister and mother. Then, her mother got sick and died. She tells King that her family and neighbours blamed the death on the twins: “When my mother fell ill and died everyone said that her death was her punishment because she didn’t respect her culture - the ancestors.”

The Unreported World team also meets Carolin, who is considered especially unlucky as she has given birth to three sets of twins. She tells King that she has had to move house around thirty times due to the taboo because her neighbours feared the twins. Now, she’s forced to live in a tiny tent and is struggling to feed her family. Living alongside her, in what amounts to a small refugee camp for twins, are six other families who have all had to flee their villages.

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The Cursed Twins, Channel 4: Unreported World | Quicksilver Media