Flemish series 'The Metises of Belgium' wins Prix Europa
The TV series 'The Metises of Belgium' (Canvas) won the Prix Europa in the Diversity category, a prestigious award for European television, radio and internet programmes.
The documentary tells the harrowing story of Metis children. Those are the sons and daughters of Belgian colonials and African mothers who were placed with foster families in Belgium in the late 1950s. Metis children were seen as a threat to the colonial system. In many cases, they were taken away from their mothers and brought up in Catholic boarding schools or foster homes. Often without knowing their real identity.
Central in the documentary are the stories of Jaak, Paul and Jacqueline. As illegitimate children of a white father and a black mother, they were taken away from their mother by the Belgian authorities and placed in Save's boarding school in Rwanda.
'The metises of Belgium' is a series produced by the flemish production company De Chinezen. For director Steven Crombez, the award is "a European recognition for our entire team, but much, much more so for Jacqueline, Jaak, Paul and all the other colonial metises of Belgium who grew up to be positive and resilient people despite their unenviable fate".
Portrait Metis child Jaak Albert. The mother of Jaak was a Tutsi, his father a Belgian colonial. At six, Jaak was separated from his mother; at eight, he ended up in an orphanage in Belgium. Metis children were seen as a threat to the colonial system. In many cases, they were taken away from their mothers and brought up in Catholic boarding schools or foster homes. Often without knowing their real identity. Prime Minister Charles Michel (MR) apologised for the cruel way Metis children were treated in Belgian colonies. In the 1940s and 1950s, they were born in Congo, Rwanda or Burundi to a Belgian colonial and an indigenous woman. Belgium, Kasterlee 18-04-2019. Photo © BELGA PHOTO TON TOEMEN