The art of telling historical stories through theatre

The Goethe-Institut Namibia and network in Sub-Saharan Africa are proud to announce the deliverance of artistic works under the Burden of Memory project fund that features a collaboration between Trixie Munyama from Namibia and Christian Etongo from Cameroon.

29 January 2021 | Art and Entertainment


The Burden of Memory aims to confront and explore the German colonial history of independent African states and how that colonial past is present till today through various forms of expressions and norms highlighted by theatrical performances, visual art installations, musical productions and videos.

Six various forms of music performance and visuals will be displayed namely,

1. Everyday Germannes in Two Cities, Theatre / performance

Steven Mfuko, Tansania & Ishabuja Films, Burundi

Date of presentation: 29th January 2021 at Institute of Culture of Bagamoyo (Taasisi ya Sanaa Bagamoyo-TASUBA)

Tanzania is a former German colony that was devastated by the German conquest notably the Maji Maji that claimed over 500, 000 to a Million deaths. Maji Maji war is still remembered by Tanzanians and other African countries as a spiritual, social, and military response to German colonialism.

These echoes, fragments, and feelings lived today is what we call Everyday Germanness. Our aim is to capture these traces and lived experiences of Germanness from the two cities as experienced by mostly the elderly population but then interpreted by youth aged 18-40 male and female. More explicitly, we want to interview 12 elders male and female who are knowledge of these practices and experiences. Then, use their stories to produce ten fictional short videos that dramatize these lived experiences.

2. Hidden, Music/ Theatre/ Performance

Trixie Munyama, Namibia & Christian Etongo, Cameroon

Date of Presentation: 26th February 2021, Windhoek

Both Namibia and Cameroon have something in common - they were colonised by Germany (1884 - 1916/19) and with this shared history, Hidden looks at the existing economical, cultural and political structures which continue to influence both countries as remnants of the past that are strongly embedded in the present time.

The work attempts to interrogate this in-betweens of the past and present as an idea of commemoration using rituals of memorising and cleansing the residues of trauma within the lived spaces as well as consciousness of the people merged from both countries. The partners' existing works on German colonial history looks at the subject of mourning, of forgiving the past as a form of restitution for the victims and generation of this history in a manner that speaks of ownership and dignity using performative acts of rituals within a contemporary frame whilst looking at the crimes committed against the natives including the genocide of the Ovahereo and Nama, and the assassination of the main Cameroonian leaders and bloody repression of Cameroonians.

3. More About Richard Kandt (MARK), Video, music, performance

Kivumbi King (Rwanda), Kaya Free (Burundi), Solene Ndahiro (Rwanda) and Gaspard Kayijuka ( Rwanda)

Date of presentation: October 24th 2020 and February 28, 2021- Online

Between September 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021, the Rwandan poet and musician Kuvumbi King, together with his Burundian partner Kaya Free are joining forces with a group of artists and activists in order to implement the performing arts project "More About Richard Kandt" (MARK).

The programme is a contribution to the Goethe Institute’s 2020 call for applications entitled “The Burden of Memory” and will be carried out in Rwanda and Tanzania.

On October 24, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, various digital communication pathways will be employed to discus and disseminate the project’s creative outcome on a global scale. The project's second part aims to widen and deepen the reach through transnational partnership. Thematically, MARK focuses on the life and time of Richard Kandt, Representative of the German Emperor in Rwanda between 1907 and 1914.

4. Graines de Reconciliation, Installation, visual Art

Jacques Do Kokou, Togo, Philip Kojo Metz, Germany Madjé Ayite, Togo, Etienne Song and

Edith Mipo Tchinkou, Cameroon

Date of presentation: 25th February, Lome Togo

An architecture student visits the Palais de Lomé (former governor's palace). At the bend in the corridor, she is drawn into a virtual world that immerses her in the history of Togo and Cameroon, told through questions about German colonisation asked to selected people.

The work is presented in the auditorium and in the public square in a video projection installation on two screens placed at right angles. Two hidden programmed cameras allow the inclusion of images of spectators to give them the opportunity to be part of the history of the remains of colonial architecture and its fate today.

5. Racontons la colonisation pour construire le présent et le future, Conte spectacle

Koffi Mawoutour - TOG & Alima Mbarga -CAM & Mengue Rose - CAM & Mbogo Marcelline - CAM

Date of presentation: 29th January 2021, Goethe-Institut, Yaounde

It is a storytelling show furnished with song, music, percussion, dance drawn from the German, Cameroonian and Togolese repertoire with musical instruments such as gong, castanets, djembe and mvet. This show will also put the spotlight on new forms of cooperation that should govern future relations between Germany and African countries.

6. Les Masques Tombent, Dance, visual art

Tejeutsa Zobel Raoul (Zora Snake)- CAM/ & Clay Apenouvon -TOG

Date of presentation: 27th Feb 2021, possible dates, April, June , July- Lome, Togo, Cameroon, Germany

The subject of the restitution of our cultural heritage looted during the colonial era in Africa has been in the news for several years. German colonisation in Africa has not escaped the question of sacred objects on display in museums: the throne of Sultan Bamoun Ibrahim Njoya is on display in the Fur Volkerkunder Museum in Berlin.

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