Here are five stories we recommend this week. Visit our editors’ picks to browse more recommendations, and sign up for our weekly newsletter if you haven’t already:

1. They Were Labeled Witches. They Just Had Dementia.

Shara Johnson | Narratively | May 2021 | 6,723 words

“Do you know any witches?” This is a question that retired pastor Berrie Holtzhausen asks when out searching in Namibia for people with dementia. After once caring for a man with advanced Alzheimer’s, Holtzhausen researched all he could about the disease, and then turned to a life of advocating for those with dementia, who are often accused as witches in Namibia’s tribal populations. “Most Black Namibians,” writes Shara Johnson in this piece from last year, “have been raised in communities where witchcraft is as real and relevant to their world as Jesus is to Christians.” Ndjinaa Ngombe, a Black Namibian of the Himba tribe, is but one example: Her family had her locked in chains for 20 years, until Holtzhausen removed the shackles. Johnson tells a compelling story of an extraordinary man with a mission, seeking justice for a “misunderstood demographic.” —CLR

2. Gazawood Dreams

Paul Fischer | Hidden Compass | January 11, 2022 | 4,985 words

Paul Fischer travels to Gaza to profile cinema-loving twin brothers Tarzan and Arab (Ahmed and Mohamed Abu Nasser). It’s Fischer’s evocative details that bring this story to life, one of two brothers who are united in their movie-making obsession, their “greatest defence against death” in a country beleaguered by war, a place where all the movie theatres closed the year before they were born. “They called their studio Gazawood. Its walls plastered in collages of images, Gazawood was like a psychological and emotional bunker, sheltering them from the fighter jets roaring overhead, the whipcrack of rockets firing in the distance, the sectarian arguments in the febrile streets.” —KS

3. An American Girl

John Woodrow Cox | The Washington Post | October 24, 2022 | 8,582 words

There should not be a profile of Caitlyne Gonzales in a national paper. Really, no one outside her immediate community — her family, friends, classmates, teachers, coaches — should know who she is. She should have the innocence and anonymity that all kids deserve. But Caitlyne lives in Uvalde, Texas, and she survived a massacre in her elementary school that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers, a massacre that might not have happened if conservative lawmakers, firearm manufacturers, and gun enthusiasts gave an iota of a damn about protecting human life. So here is an astonishing, devastating profile of Caitlyne, a profile in which a 10-year-old girl speaks for her dead friends before lawmakers, and visits their graves with her mom. I struggled to finish this piece because of the anger and sadness I could feel rising in my body. It is so good, and it should not exist. —SLD

4. “The Anti-Woodstock ’99”: An Oral History of the Tibetan Freedom Concert

Marc Hogan | Pitchfork | October 26, 2022 | 5,870 words

Once upon a time, I was a sucker for a good oral history. I read them, I created them, I edited them. (I might one day do an oral history about having the restraint not to pepper this paragraph with links to other oral histories!) However, at some point in the recent past, the form became a crutch. There were just too many. They were about inconsequential things. They relied too often on people who are adjacent to the events being remembered. And so, the oral history lost its potency. What a joy, then, to read Marc Hogan restoring it to its former glory. True, he didn’t get some of the core cast — while the late Adam Yauch co-founded what might be the most audacious free live event of the ’90s, his surviving Beasties are nowhere to be found — but he did get a robust cross-section that covered so much about the Tibetan Freedom Concert. I recognize that this piece is catnip for young Gen Xers like me; I also recognize that in this particularly ’90s-fetishizing moment, there may be many people who have no idea this concert even happened. To you, I say: enjoy. You missed a hell of a time. —PR

5. What Was Brangelina?

Angelica Jade Bastién | Vulture | October 24, 2022 | 5,067 words

There have been a lot of words written about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — most of them with a tinge of hysteria. Magazines have long reveled in the drama of their love story (remember “Team Jolie” and “Team Aniston?”). This essay is refreshing, with Angelica Jade Bastién taking a calm, measured look at how the Brangelina story has played out over the years. I was never particularly enthralled by either of them, but still enjoyed this thoughtful analysis, along with the beautifully vivid descriptions of their iconic photos: “She’s unconsciously supine, made to appear in a pill-addled haze, wearing a magenta Narciso Rodriguez wool and silk crêpe dress as he, in a suit sans jacket — as if he just got home and is not quite eager to clean her mess — kneels to scoop her up.” Bastién also addresses the complicated issue of how Pitt has managed to maintain a reputation for being the good guy, despite Jolie leveling accusations of abuse against him. Their story is far from over. —CW

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