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The secret of Iyas

De Cyrill Noyalet


Alidou is a musician from Benin who sets out to discover the Gèlèdè tradition, what his mother referred to as ‘the secret of women’. He goes to Sagon, a Voodoo village where a woman named Iyalashè guides the spiritual heart of the people.

We then follow him on several encounters as he attempts to understand the beliefs surrounding the rites of the witch mothers—The Iyas. Alidou’s quest allows us to see the impact modernity has had on these traditional practices.

The director - Cyrill Noyalet

After studying in the documentary studio at the School of “La Femis”, Cyrill Noyalet worked for ten years with the Nago-Yoruba communities of Central Benin.

His work has been inspired by the principles of ‘shared anthropology’. Noyalet’s technical crew was composed of both French and Beninese technicians and this collaboration was fundamental to his work. With the help of his crew, the director began this historical document at a time when modernity threatens to desanctify and folklorize the traditional practices of Benin.