Searching for Samantha


Samantha Lewthwaite: Misunderstood widow or international terrorist? A young mother who worked in a pie factory and watched her weight, to a veiled alleged Islamist leader, involved in deadly terror attacks. The story of an intercontinental love-match brokered in a South African living room, to a woman on run from the law on Kenya's Swahili coast.

In 2013 and 2014, I worked with award-winning filmmaker Adam Wishart on "Searching for Samantha", a film documentary attempt to make sense of it all.

Shot across four countries on three continents with a team including my Nairobi-based colleague Zoe Flood, we may not have found her, but rather her path to radicalisation and notoriety.

Here's the official blurb:

"Samantha Lewthwaite is one of the world's most wanted terrorists. The widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the July 7 bombers, she claimed ignorance of her husband's lethal intentions, saying she was a victim too. But for the past three years, international security services have been after the so-called `White Widow', who is now on the run in Africa, charged with conspiracy to cause explosions. How did this schoolgirl from a quiet Home Counties market town end up as a friend and confidante of some of the top echelons of al-Qaeda? Film-maker Adam Wishart has spent a year tracking down the real story of Samantha Lewthwaite, revealing her path to radicalisation and the hate preacher who inspired her."

Broadcast for the first time on July 2nd, on BBC1, it's now also been shown around the world, including in South Africa. It's also received quite a bit of press, including this rather hefty spread in The Guardian.

You can also watch a brief clip of the documentary here.