The Burden of Memory

bom_695 © Goethe-Institut Kamerun

100 Artists from 6 African Countries present different views on German colonial past: “The Burden of Memory” in Yaounde from 9 to 16 November. The Burden of Memory: Considering German Colonial History in Africa “Memory obviously rejects amnesia…” (Soyinka 1999).

Confronting colonial past – a painful task known to most of the countries on the African continent. Today’s societies are discussing their past in many different ways and forms. Yet, a platform is missing, on which artists, intellectuals and scientists can exchange and come together. The German cultural instute Goethe-Institut launches a first attempt to create a platform like this: the multidisciplinary project „The Burden of Memory - Considering German Colonial History in Africa“ will see over 100 artists and cultural actors from seven countries coming together in Yaounde, presenting their works and reflecting on different perspectives on the impact of German colonialism in Africa.
Cameroon, Yaounde – October 25, 2019- From 9 to 16 November the Cameroonian capital will welcome over 100 guests from six African countries and Germany. During a cultural week entitled “The Burden of Memory: Considering German Colonial History in Africa” and organised by the Goethe-Institut, creatives from all possible genres, theatre, music, visual arts, literature, film and performance will present different artistic perspectives on German colonialism. The special event brings together artists from those countries that were formerly colonised by Germany: Burundi, Cameroon, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo. In addition there will be participants from the African diaspora communities in Germany. The Goethe-Institut has invited three curators, Princess Marilyn Douala Manga Bell from Cameroon, Rose Jepkorir Kiptum from Kenya and Nontobeko Ntombela from South Africa, to conceptualize, compose and organise the project, which will for the first time enable art practicioners from those countries to meet, appreciate each other’s works and discuss the impacts of a painful shared history on their countries.
[Adobe Systems] In his groundbreaking book titled ‘The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness’ (1999) Nigerian author and Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka questions the way devastating histories of oppression have been dealt with in the post-independence era. He asks; “Once oppression stops, is reconciliation between oppressor and victim possible? Soyinka proposes a way in dealing with these histories. He proposes art - poetry, music, theatre and visual arts - as the possible “seed of reconciliation” arguing “art as the generous vessel that can hold together the burden of memory and the hope of forgiveness”.

In Yaounde, the theatre and performance arena will welcome the procession of the Mourning Citizens from Namibia as well as the professional Club Intwari Tambourines from Burundi. Internationally acclaimed artists like Blick Bassy, the hip hop poet Eric Ngangare, also known as 1key and the slam poet Lion King will present their works in music and Spoken Word. A film programme including Cafe Togo by Musquiqui Chihying and Gregor Kasper, Colonial Misunderstanding by Jean-Marie Teno will be part of the cultural week as well as literary works from various authors. The heart of the cultural week will be at the Villa, where the public can enjoy a pop-up library, meet the artists and listen to public discussions and book readings. 15 artists will present their works in exhibition form in three spaces, the National Gallery for Contemporary Art, the gallery CIPCA and the Goethe-Gallery next to Goethe-Institut. Works of Amani and Cloud, Herve Youmbi, Jean David Nkot, Nicola Brandt, Kathleen Bomani, Jacques Do Kokou, Roger Mboupda and Philip Kojo Metz to name a few can be appreciated there.
“The Burden of Memory: Considering German Colonial History” is the biggest project of Goethe-Institut in 2019, which deals with the general confrontation with the German colonial past. Its aim is to create a platform for open exchange between artists and the general public. The project has been made possible due to the close collaboration with the Cameroonian Ministry of Arts and Culture.
Contacts :
Dolly Nwafo (Goethe-Institut Kamerun)
+237 655 498 869
BP: 1067 Yaoundé/Cameroun