Dark Tourist season 1, episode 7 recap: ‘Africa’


In episode 7 of Netflix series Dark Tourist, David explores voodoo in Benin, walks dangerous South African streets and meets race war role-players.

Dark Tourist may be controversial by its nature, but it’s sort of got an undeserved reputation. Many people like it and, honestly, it’s not a far cry from conventional journalism anyway. This is true even when David’s on his more bizarre quests. The episode “Africa” definitely contains some of those.


As David Farrier enters the city of Ouidah in southern Benin, he notes it’s considered the home of Voodoo (also called “Vodun”). As if to prove it, we’re shown that a goat is slaughtered, and a man thrashes it around in his mouth. That’s a bit Voodoo-like, is it not? Farrier also meets a Voodoo priestess named Martine. Right off the bat, David gets into the spiritual talk. We’re told that a spirit she worships, Thron, said a white man was coming to be her disciple. Apparently, David is that white man.

Martine seems nice enough. She shows off some ceremonial animal remains, such as fox, hyena and dried puppy heads – which is sure to alienate certain Westerners. Still, it’s not particularly different from, say, deer carcasses hung up in a hunter’s front yard. In fact, Martine tells David that many (if not most) sacrificed animals are also utilized as food, so they’re not wasted. Farrier then goes into some specific curses used in conjunction with the animals. If you bury your enemy’s name with a horse’s head, the enemy will be cursed. Also, “Whisper your enemy’s name into a duck’s beak and you can silence them.”

Related Story. Dark Tourist season 1 premiere recap. light

More from Netflix

It may sound strange to non-believers, but (again) there are semi-similar practices in the Western world. For example, back in 2014, ABC gave us this headline: “Snake Worshiping Pastor Dies From a Poisonous Rattle Snake Bite.”  That sounds exotic enough, and it’s a story out of Kentucky. Similarly, snake meat is supposedly gaining popularity in the United States. In other words, unique beliefs and palates can be found within the United States as well.

David agrees to go through a voodoo initiation. Gin and kola nuts are part of the ceremony, along with a turkey sacrifice. Understandably, David jokes that his Christian parents wouldn’t be happy with the Voodoo initiation. It is definitely different. They bathe David in dove’s blood and apply paints to him.  Afterward he remarks that it’s unusual and unsettling, but he feels great.

The Darker Side of Voodoo?

Curious about different sides of Voodoo, David and Martine travel to Lake Nakoue. There they find Ganvie Island, a floating town on stilts, and possibly a Dark Tourist dream locale. The Temple of Kokou showcases a more violent style of Voodoo. Unlike Thron, who is a kinder and gentler spirit, Kokou possesses people, throws their bodies around and even makes them cut themselves. Dark Tourist understandably gets a little squeamish, but we see a bit of the possessed slashing themselves with dull knives, smashing bottles over their heads, etc.

Still, even this ritual has analogs in Western history. Christianity has had self-flagellation, where people would injure themselves in honor of the wounds said to be experienced by Christ. Meanwhile, just as Voodoo says blood contains life-giving energy, a previous Dark Tourist episode visited a sect of self-proclaimed New Orleans vampires who say the same thing. Still, Voodoo seems extreme by its very nature, even to its adherents, which is precisely part of its traditional appeal.


Alexandra, a Township in South Africa, is often described as a lawless ghetto. In other words, it’s the sort of place a dark tourist might want to go. David Farrier’s tour guide, Jeff, shows him (and other tourists) around the place on bikes. Is it dangerous? It turns out that’s a little exaggerated. Like most places on earth, it’s potentially dangerous, and Jeff carries a gun. However, Farrier’s impressed with how kind people are there. It also has an impressive history. David is shown the early home of Nelson Mandela – whose name you may have heard before.

During one of the episode’s more controversial moments, David calls it a “slum tour” in front of the group, for which he apologizes. Nobody dwells on it, however, and David notes that there’s a sense of community there, and that it’s far safer than expected. He also sees “spinning,” in which drivers perform stunts in cars that are spinning around. David rides along with Stacey-Lee May, the so-called “Queen of Smoke.” She says that one of her death-defying moves, the “suicide slide,” took her about two minutes to learn.

Orania and the Suidlanders

What can be said of this next segment? David Farrier heads to Orania, often considered a “white separatist” part of South Africa — or an Afrikaner cultural stronghold. As David interviews its inhabitants, everyone’s careful about what they say. Still, Farrier asks them a few blunt questions, like whether or not they miss black people.

Then David sets off to find the Suidlanders — or “the real extremists,” as he calls them.
There’s basically no way to put this delicately: The Suidlanders are a religious cult who believe black people will eventually rise up against white South Africans. David visits Elizabeth and Franz, who live in a home surrounded by barbed wire. In many ways, they are like conventional survivalists afraid of some takeover. What makes them quaint is that they’re afraid of non-white Africans, in a largely non-white continent.  So, an obvious question is: If they’re so afraid of people with darker skin, why are they living in Africa? It’s similar to a homophobe wanting to move to modern San Francisco (or, less controversially, someone who hates extreme cold moving to Canada or Minnesota).

Dark Tourist season 1 finale recap. dark. Next

Anyway, David attends an evacuation exercise and sees just how fear-driven these people are. At one point, Elizabeth says she’d rather put her pets down than let them experience the uprising. Oddly enough, though, even these people display some normalcy. After the apocalyptic race war role-playing, a bunch of people gathers for an ordinary-looking barbecue. Though it’s disgusting to hear them sing the old apartheid national anthem, it’s nonetheless apparent that these people are a minority in South Africa.

The big question is: Will such people ever let up on these paranoid beliefs and realize they’ll never truly be safe anywhere, no matter what skin color they have? In fact, tragic murders are possible even in the supposed cultural safe haven of Orania. The main point is:  There is good and bad in all people, and there’s plenty of both to be seen all over the world.  Why lock yourself up and assume you’re the only one in danger?  Fear will only take you so far, and where you end up isn’t usually a good place.

That’s it for this Dark Tourist recap! Feel free to discuss it in the comments!