Princess Marilyn Douala Manga Bell
Princess Marilyn Douala Manga Bell was born in Cameroon in 1957. One of the aims of her work is to honour the historical role of her great-grandfather Rudolf Manga Bell (1873-1914), the leader of an important resistance movement against the German colonial power. In doing so, she aims at contributing to ongoing debates on the politics of memory in Cameroon and beyond. She studied development economics in Paris and has been working as a development expert since 1994, among others for the World Bank and the European Commission. She is co-founder of the doual’art Contemporary Art Center in Douala, which opened in 1991, and is committed to the future of African museums and the restitution of cultural artefacts from colonial contexts. In 2016, she took part, as African expert, in the conference held by the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg on the conception of the Humboldt Forum. In 2019, she co-curated the project Burden of Memory at the Goethe-Institut Yaoundé, which brought together artistic explorations of German colonial rule in Africa from various African countries. Her most recent initiatives include the exhibition project Kamerunstaat, which tours schools in Cameroon with an accompanying educational programme. She also curated the exhibition Hey Hamburg! Do you know Duala Manga Bell? (running until 31 December 2022) at the Hamburg Museum am Rothenbaum Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK), which opened in April. Princess Marilyn Douala Manga Bell lives in Douala.
Statements on the conferrals
“Marilyn Douala Manga Bell combines civil society commitment with international cultural work in an outstanding way and takes a reconciliatory and forward-looking position on social conflicts and historic problems. She develops highly regarded ideas for coming to terms with colonial injustice as well as for consolidating Cameroon’s own identity.”