LISTEN TO  

KUMI 

"Trauma can either break you or make you stronger". It's a lesson all of us experience at some point in life but one that Kumi has learned from a very young age. It's as if she had no choice but to break boundaries since her name literally means "power".

Kumi grew up in Suriname: an exotic paradise surrounded by hospitable people. She fondly tells stories about newborn monkies and sunny days. However, a dark shadow was cast over her childhood. When her mother suspected there was something wrong, they fled the country to start a new life in the Netherlands .

Years later, Kumi returns to Suriname where she meets the man of her dreams. Together they create their own little family. First they welcome their daughter Noah and then a son Sem. She describes her daughter as perfect, but Sem was born premature at 23 weeks. The odds were definitely not in his favor but just like his mother, Sem inherited her strength and survived. Even though his autism was the subject of superstition in her village, Kumi tells how Sem has only enriched her life.

When her daughter hits puberty Kumi can no longer run from her past. On her mother's deathbed she finally confesses the secret she's been carrying her whole life: how she was a victim of sexual child abuse by her own grandfather. Fearing her daughter may suffer the same fate by the men in her village, Kumi decides to flee to Belgium.

This audio portrait and Kumi had a deep impact on me. I hope you will feel the fierceness in her tone and the wisdom in her words. Much more than a trauma story, this is a testimonial to motherly love and how it can even break generational curses. 

Documentary 'KUMI' won the PRIX EUROPA STUDENT AWARD - RISING STAR 2021

Bérénice Coussement
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