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Dr. Sophie Kotanyi

Born in Budapest; Grown up in Belgium as Hungarian refugee after 1956. she Lives in Germany and works in Africa since 1976. Film studies at the DFFB (Berlin) 1977-1983; Anthropologist MA at FU-Berlin (1992- 1998); Phd at SAI, Karl-Ruprecht Universität Heidelberg (2016) . Worky on the field as anthropologist since 1988.

Filmmaker in Europe and Africa since 1976; author, researcher, facilitator in communication, teacher and trainer-facilitator in inclusion of socio-cultural values, practices and concepts in applied anthropology concerning development, health, education, law and conflicts mediation.

Applied Anthropological films & studies in West, Central and South-East Africa (since 1992):

Studies of Ethnopsychiatry for migrants in France (since 1997); in Africa, applied anthropological studies, films and bridging between biomedical approaches of biomedical staff and healers, chiefs & notables in Bantu-speaking cultures, concerning trauma (1999-2003) and HIV/AIDS (2001-2014). Experiences with NGOs (since 1978) and international Organisations (since 1999).

Teaching in medical anthropology since 2003 (University Eduardo Mondlane, for Ministries and NGO’s in Mozambique, Ruanda, Guinea Bissau, DR Congo and Europe; in Germany by TropEd and SAI Heidelberg; in Paris for people working with persons living with HIV/AIDS).

Studies and teaching in legal anthropology; applied activities, realisation of films, and facilitation of dialogue between local practitioners in lived-law, judges and lawyers in official law (Mozambique 2003; Guinea Bissau 2005; DR Congo 2011-2012).

Dr. Phil. Des. at the K.R. University Heidelberg (SAI) defended in April 2016.


1976-89 CAPVERDE ISLAND INDEPENDENT” 4 films with G. Heidrich and T. Wyss

1981Cinema e animação no Campo”. Participative diffusion on the Cap Verde Island.

1982-83 "TCHOM" (Land), a documentation of the situation that should be changed through the land reform . (50 Min., port. Creole, with G. Heidrich, U. Frohnmeyer)

1983-84 "BLACK AND WITH PAINTING" (40 Min)- DFFB- The confrontation and reflections an African woman from the country side, with the city live in Berlin.

1984 "SAMY´S HOLLIDAY IN AFRICA" (TV-WDR) Live an African child.

1984  „LISAULLMAN“ (German TV- HR) .

1985 "DIS MOI, MARIE" Portrait of an feminist whiter (30 Min.) French film support.

1985 „MARY WIGMAN“ (German TV- HR).

1986 "TWO NORMAL WOMANS" (45 min. SFB )- Social Documentary .

1987 "GEDULDETES LEBEN" (45 min. SFB) Social Documentary about the unsecured, just tolerated life of Tamil refugee women’s in Berlin/Germany.

1987 "EINKLANG" (Germany TV-NDR (A Tai-Tchi-Experiment,15 Min.).

1988 "AUF'S GANZE GEHEN" 45 Min., (SFB) Social Documentary how a woman can survive and live positively with cancer.

1989 "ZEITEN FREIWILLIGEN ZWANGS" 30 Min. (SFB) Social Documentary of a woman employed by Siemens during the II WW (reflections on Siemens participation in concentrations camps, rape experience by Russian soldiers).

1986 -1990 Audio-visual evaluation in a long term observation Guinea - Bissau (West-Africa); both films where shown in original version in the villages of Boé.

"DJARAMA BOE" (Thanks Boé) 90 min. (different German TV and in Guinea-Bissau) Ethnographical film about the live of a rural Family; the story and the every day live with the itinerant agriculture along the several seasons.       

"YARAY YESSO" (The way of Progress), 90 Min. (diffusion in differs German TV & festival, and in Guinea-Bissau). Long term observation looking from the point of view of the population during 2,5 years on the effects of a development project in the social relations and in the live of the rural population (as an audiovisual evaluation); Reflection about the social effects of the introduction of money; the price of progress, which partially and for a while destructed the self-help structures in agriculture. The diffusion of both films helped to develop self-help activities, and to build a peasant association that coordinated own development activities.

1990 Materials to both Guinea-Bissau Films for Education Diffusion in Germany.

1992-94: "LIEBER NACH OSTEN ALS NACH KANADA", (Better to the East than to Canada); Long Term anthropological observation/ film document of West German colonisation in East Germany. A Jung family of peasants from East Germany making biological agriculture in North-East Germany. In the same country, the confrontation & misunderstanding from different cultures and historical background.

1996-97 AMOR FATI“ (Liebe zum Schicksal/LOVE OF DESTINY) 138 min. History of a family (my own) from Hungary, told by mother, father, sister, brother:

1.Act: „Short history of an Hungarian Revolution“: Family history and the political history of the 1956 revolution from the point of view of intellectuals.

2.Act: „Chronic of a Rift“: The first 7 years after the flight to the west (Belgium) and the breaking apart of the family in emigration. A psychodrama documenting a classical re-traumatisation in the emigration. Author, direction, edition and production. (German-Belgium-Hungarian Co-prod. With Media II and Different televisions: SFB; WDR; 3 SAT; Denmark TV; RTBF-Belgium TV; Duna TV- Hungary)

1999-2002 „VIVER de NOVO- Não se decide sozinho“ (“To live again- No decision are made alone). Long term observation of traditional local forms of conflict resolution in peace time in North of Mozambique with the background of the post-civil war reconstruction. A historical view, from the point of view of the rural population of four communities in two districts in the Emakhuwa matrilineal society.    

1999-2003 ESPIRITOCORPO” (“SPIRITBODY” or GEISTKÖRPER) Traditional treatment from mental health cases in Mozambique, trauma rehabilitation and specific aetiologies.

2008 Bridging traditional medicine on HIV and AIDS “DIALOGO” audiovisual document

2011b „KUKITUKA documenting a traditional treatment neutralizing witchcraft (South-West D.R. Congo. (An own Pico Film production).

2012 ”LA PALABRE QUI TRANCHE (Film, 70 min.) Fr./Kikongo, documents three palaver in Bas-Congo, local forms of justice mediating ‘symbolic’ clan power conflicts and about witchcraft. Used by training from Judges in Bas-Congo (RDC) to customary Justice in Bas-Congo. RCN Justice & Démocratie; Coproduction with Pico Film, in RDC.


Kotanyi S., 1999, Das Kind, dass auf einem Faden Läuft. Ethno-psychoanalytische Behandlung von Migranten in Frankreich. Introduction in Ethnopsychiatry.“; Master Theses in Anthropology by Prof. Luig at the FU Berlin (forthcoming).

Kotanyi S., 1999 „Das Ahnenkind“ (Ancestor Child) in „Chaos und Entwicklung“ U. Becker,A. Hermann, M. Stanek, Giessen by Ed. Psychosozial.

Kotanyi S., 2001 „Das Spannungsfeld zwischen Tradition und Moderne: Beobachtungen in

Mozambique” in “Transformationsprobleme im portugiesischsprachigen Afrika” (p.53-67) IAK- Institut für Afrika-Kunde Hrsg. J.Augel & P. Meyns, Hamburg 2001.

Kotanyi S., 2003c, Participative approach of diffusion of ESPIRITOCORPO, CIDAC, Maputo.

Kotanyi, S. (ed.). 2003d. Materiais para uma difusão participativa do filme Viver de Novo; Não se decide sozinho. Maputo: CIDAC.

Kotanyi S., 2005a, Zur Relevanz indigener Konzepte von Krankheit und Ansteckung für eine wirksamere HIV/AIDS Prävention im soziokulturellen Kontext am Beispiel von Mozambique“ CURARE, 28, 2+3 (2005: 247-264), Berlin.

Kotanyi S.,2005b.Initiation und Gender Thematiken in der HIV/AIDS Aufklärung Fortbildung für Verantwortlichen von Initiationsritualen von Mädchen/Jungen Frauen. Aktivitäten für Mädchen/Frauen aus dem ländlichen Raum zwischen 15-29 Jahren. Unpublished Report for ARGE, Health Focus/AGEG, and GiZ Saude, Mozambique and Germany.

_________.2007a. Relatório da “Escolha” em Nampula Preparação de uma Pesquisa sobre ocontexto sociocultural do HIV/SIDA. MONASO, Maputo. Unpublished report.

_________.2007a. Relatório da “Escolha” em Nampula Preparação de uma Pesquisa sobre o contexto sociocultural do HIV/SIDA. MONASO, Maputo. Unpublished report.

Kotanyi S., 2007b  « Prévention du sida au Mozambique. Une application des concepts de Georges Devereux »  Le Coq-Héron 190 (2007: 124-132), Ed. Éres, Paris.

Kotanyi S., Macaringue, Mariano E., Nhaombe H., Conceicao R. , 2008,“DIÁLOGO - Projecto de Luta contra o HIV/SIDA pelo Diálogo entre a medicina moderna e tradicional.” Relatório do primeiro ano do Projecto (2006-2007), Cruz Vermelha Moçambique & MONASO, Maputo, Maio 2008, unpublished report.

Kotanyi S., Krings-Ney B., 2009a. Introduction of culturally sensitive HIV prevention in thecontext of female initiation rites: an applied anthropological approach in Mozambique”,African Journal of AIDS Research 2009, 8(4): 491–502, South Africa

Kotanyi S., 2009b. „Le Sida en milieu culturel africain: un défi au dialogue pour atteindre une approche efficace du VIH. Chrétien Sida Magazine nr.62 - 3èm trimestre 2009 pp.10-13, Paris

Kotanyi S., Krings-Ney B., 2010   „Kulturelle Dimensionen in der HIV-Prävention: Integration in weibliche Initiationsriten“ Mosambik Rundbrief 80, Mai 2010, pp.4-7, Bielefeld.

Kotanyi S., 2011a. Intégration culturelle de la lutte contre le VIH et le SIDA en RDC. Pré-étude Ethnoculturelle autour du VIH et du SIDA au Kwango. Pour Caritas RDC et Allemagne et Health Focus. (Unpublished research report). Berlin, Kinshasa.

Kotanyi, S. & Lapika, D. B., 2012. Séminaire d’anthropologie Juridique : la dimensionanthropologique de la justice coutumière au Bas-Congo en RDC. Rapport pour RCN, Justice Démocratie, Kinshasa,Bruxelles (unpublished report).



Introduction à la palabre au Bas-Congo, CERDAS, PFI & RCN Justice & Démocratie.

Die Behandlung von Migranten in Frankreich. Einführung in Ethnopsychiatrie.

Ancestral Paradigms and Modern Lives. Relational living in Mozambique and DR

Congo”. Theories and applications: bridging the local notions of ancestors, of interrelated

persons, of taboos and of witchcraft, - in the framework of health and law.