Documentaries

Last updated: 24 august, 2011 - 12:02 GMT

Global Perspective Documentary Series 2011: Who Says I Can't?

Global Perspective is the BBC World Service's international documentary series.

Each year the BBC World Service collaborates with radio stations from around the world to make a documentary on a contemporary subject of international importance and interest.

Each partner station contributes a programme that is revealing about the character and culture of their country on a chosen theme.

The theme for 2011 is 'who says I can't?'.

One

Who Says I Can't Fish?

Fisherman Fred Normandale

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Over the last 10 to 15 years, a third of Britain's commercial fishermen have left the industry.

A decade ago European fish stocks appeared to be in irretrievable decline.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union brought in quotas to protect white fish in the hope of returning to sustainable numbers.

But the constantly shifting regulation has bamboozled and maddened British fishermen like Fred Normandale who end up throwing back a lot of what they catch because it exceeds their quota.

For Who Says I Can't Fish, Charlotte Smith visits the small town of Scarborough with hundreds of years of maritime history, looking out onto the grey North Sea.

Fred Normandale fishes out of Scarborough, he comes from generations of fishermen, and has built up a business to own a handful of small trawlers.

As a recent sea shanty about Scarborough fishermen has it "the North Sea is the place where we dig for our gold."

But gold isn't easy to come by - anxiety over mounting debts on the repayment of large loans taken out in more prosperous times to refit his boats keeps Fred awake at night.

Scarborough has only eight remaining commercial fishing boats, four of them under ten metres long, and two of them have moved up from the nearby port of Bridlington which can no longer support the industry.

Scarborough's vital infrastructure for the remaining fishermen is on the brink of collapse.

The European Union's Common Fisheries Policy which regulates British waters is in the process of being updated.

Will it acknowledge the improved fish stock levels in the North Sea which the fishermen say they are encountering, find a solution to the enormous waste, and will it be in time for fishermen like Fred Normandale?

First broadcast 24 April 2011

Two

The Ancestors Are Calling

Traditional South African healer Gogo Ntintinti and journalist Lesego Mangwanyane

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In a South African family where there has been a traditional healer, or sangoma, it's believed that the ancestors want a representative in each generation, to take on the role of healing and providing a channel for the power of the ancestral spirits.

Lesego Mangwanyane of SAFM radio in Johannesburg is worried - her great grandfather was a traditional healer but her grandmother and mother didn't want to take it on.

"I'm afraid that the ancestors are calling me and I want them to leave me alone so I can get on with my life in the 21st Century."

Lesego Mangwanyane

Lesego is starting to have dreams and premonitions and fears that the ancestral finger is pointing at her.

But she doesn't want to be sucked into that world of ancestral spirits and herbal medicines - aged 22, she just wants to get on with her life as a young African woman in the 21st Century.

Lesego's experience of sangomas is limited - though it's estimated that 70% of South Africans initially visit a doctor of African traditional medicine if they have concerns about their health.

Lesego has never been to see one about her health or well-being, so she sets out to find out from friends what their experiences have been and then to meet some of Soweto's sangomas themselves.

At the climax of her journey the drums summoning the ancestors put Lesego into a deep trance and she is told that she has to choose - will she listen to the call of the ancestors or not?

click Read more about Lesego's journey on the BBC news website.

First broadcast on 28 May 2011

Three

In His Own Right

Bun Chai

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In Hong Kong, one man was facing what he thought was a meaningless life and then he decided to do something about it.

Bun Chai, who is paralysed from the neck down, made a public appeal to the government for the right to end his life and in the process found a way to live.

This documentary was not broadcast on radio therefore, there is no podcast available.

Four

Who Says I Can't Squat?

Squatters in their communal kitchen

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Is time up for squatters in the Netherlands?

In October 2010, a new anti-squat law came into being that aims to get squatters out of Dutch cities once and for all.

Sanne, Tom and Bo are young and idealistic, and like many of their friends and contemporaries, they can't afford a home at current Amsterdam prices.

So, they followed a time honoured Dutch tradition, they found an empty apartment building and with a group of friends, they moved in, fixed it up and claimed it as their own.

Squatters - or krakers as they're known - have been a well established feature of Dutch life for decades.

They occupied the peculiar Dutch space known as the 'semi-legal'.

A squatter just had to prove that a building had been empty for a year, then move in and call the police to make their claim official.

However, for the authorities it's high time that squatters started paying rents and mortgages like everyone else.

But the squatters themselves feel that they're fighting for more than just their homes - they believe that squatting is a lifestyle choice, a philosophy - and they're not about to let it go that easily.

This documentary was not broadcast on radio therefore, there is no podcast available.

Five

Elkader

Frederique and Brian from Elkader

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Elkader - a town of 15,000 people in the American mid-west state of Iowa - is surrounded by corn and soybean farms.

It's about the last place you'd expect to find a gay couple starting an Algerian restaurant in homage to a 19th Century jihadist.

Elkader is the only town in the US named after an Arab Muslim.

American settlers named it after the Algerian independence fighter Emir Abd al-Qader in 1834.

Since then the name has drawn people to explore the town's Algerian connection - some to challenge - others to celebrate.

This documentary was not broadcast on radio therefore, there is no podcast available.

Six

Who Says I Can't Serve?

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The New Zealand Navy might be small, but it's known for punching above its weight.

The Achilles - on loan from the Royal Navy at the time - was involved in one of the first naval encounters at the outset of World War II.

Since then, New Zealand has contributed various parts of its humble fleet to peace keeping operations around the globe.

And if you really want proof that size isn't everything, the New Zealand Navy prides itself on being somewhat progressive - even in matters considered taboo in other defence jurisdictions.

In this Radio New Zealand contribution to the 2011 Global Perspectives series, we feature the story of a gay naval officer, Lieutenant-Commander Kevin Sanderson.

Along with other gay and lesbian defence personnel, Kevin Sanderson is able to serve his country, thanks to an enlightened approach to what the Navy calls 'sexual diversity'.

This documentary was not broadcast on radio therefore, there is no podcast available.

Seven

The Education of Ashif Jaffer

Ashif Jaffer

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Every day Ashif Jaffer heads out to Toronto's Ryerson University, satchel in hand and makes his way to a seminar classroom.

By his very presence in that classroom, he is breaking new ground.

Ashif Jaffer has Down's Syndrome.

Until not so long ago, the idea of a student with Down's Syndrome in a university was unthinkable.

After all, how could a person with an intellectual disability belong in a place built for higher learning?

The gates to the universities have widened considerably, to include people with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities, and schools also provide all kinds of support to make that possible.

But intellectual disabilities present a conundrum.

Some Canadian universities and colleges have welcomed people with Down's Syndrome - but only to audit individual courses or participate in special programs.

Ashif Jaffer wants to change that.

He's now registered in one course but his dream - and his mother's dream - is for a full university education and the degree that goes with it.

Ashif's story is about testing limits - his own and the university's.

Produced and Presented by Alisa Siegal for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

First broadcast 13 August 2011

Eight

The Too Hard Basket

John Blades

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Warning: This documentary contains conversations about sexual experience

Disabled people are rarely touched in a loving way or thought of as sexually desirable.

Yet they have the same need for a sexual life as everyone else.

It's an issue that, along with other problems are too difficult or tedious to deal with, has been thrown into the "too hard" basket, which gives the documentary its name.

In an open and frank programme, made by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, broadcaster John Blades, who has a major disability himself, lifts the lid on this taboo subject.

The sense of self-esteem and well-being that sex can bring along with the challenges of achieving this for disabled people are all discussed in this episode of the Global Perspective series of documentaries on the theme of 'who says I cant?'.

John Blades talks to sex workers about why they work with disabled clients and the importance of touch to every human being.

John also talks to other people with disabilities about their sexual experience; Gary, a clinical psychologist who has burns to 60% of his body and finds that being touched by his wife on his burnt skin makes him feel desirable; and feisty Caitlin who has cerebral palsy, but doesn't want to be thought of as needy.

The Too Hard Basket offers a perspective on why disabled people have as much right to a sex life as the able bodied, and points out the responsibility of the able bodied in helping to achieve this.

First broadcast 20 August 2011


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