BELGIUM/SENEGAL - In 2012, 19-year-old Mamadou was one of the 5742 men, women and children expelled from Belgium. They ended up in the oblivion of public opinion. No news, good news. And if we may believe the responsible Secretary of State for migration Maggie De Block, the Belgian return policy is a huge success.

Catherine Vuylsteke and Hanne Phlypo went to visit Mamadou - one of the three main characters in their documentary 'The art of becoming' - in Senegal. Since the end of 2008, he lived in Belgium, exactly one year ago he was put on a plane to Guinea. Initially, Mamadou felt as if he had fallen from the world and even twelve months later he struggles to get up. How do you bury a dream before it buries you?

Team members

Catherine Vuylsteke

Catherine Vuylsteke is a Belgian freelance journalist, writer and filmmaker.

Catherine Vuylsteke

Hanne Phlypo

Hanne Phlypo (°1984) graduated from INSAS (Institut National Supérieur des Arts de Spectacle et de la Diffusion) in Brussels in 2006. Thereafter she explored all aspects of filmmaking. With Antoine Vermeesch she set up her own production company, Clin d'oeil. Silent Stories is her first documentary project.

€ 3.188 allocated on 21/11/2013.

NEWSPAPER (in Dutch)

  • 'Gebroken vleugels', De Morgen, 20/12/2013.

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.