Zaza maditra (Bad Boys)

Photos and Texts: © Cédric Spilthooren

  • Part 1 | In Madagascar, 92 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day and poverty has sharply increased in the past five years (four million more people in poverty than there were in 2008 ). The longstanding problems encountered by Malagasy society are exacerbated within detention centers such as Antanimora, in the capital city of Antananarivo. Exiguity, lack of hygiene and idleness are the daily life for some 110 minors incarcerated in Antanimora’s juvenile hall. Non-governmental organizations endeavored to improve the day-to-day life of inmates: construction of shower-room facilities, latrines, a refectory, daily caring to the medical and education needs of the children, supplying food, etc.

    Zaza Maditra, unruly children or bad boys as they are referred to, are aged between twelve and eighteen years old. Most of them are on remand for petty crimes ranging from chicken theft to snatch-and-grab street thieving including fighting. Taking in account the chronic overcrowding of the Court and dysfunctions of the justice system, it is not unusual for many of the children placed on remand to be released six months later without having stood before a judge at all.

    For the others,r whose serious offenses come under the jurisdiction of the Criminal court, a warrant limited to eight months, and renewable in increments of six then four months, is issued by the Prosecutor’s office. An O.P.C (Ordonnance de prise de corps), which is a detention of 30 months, can also be handed down by the examining magistrate or Prosecutor. Zaza maditra, through their collaboration and testimony, allowed me to highlight their life, an existence beyond the childhood.