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The Burden of Memory

The Burden of Richard Kandt_reformatiert
© Goethe-Institut

We are happy to announce that the project „More about Richard Kandt (MARK)” by Kivumbi King has been selected for the Burden of Memory Project Fund. 

As a direct response to the horrors of World War II, the United Nations were created as an international forum for peacebuilding and conflict resolution. On October 24, 1945, the UN-Charter entered into force. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of this day, the Rwandan poet and singer Kivumbi King and his fellow-musician Kaya Free from Burundi are kicking off an artistic collaboration honouring the spirit of the Charter as well as the victims of wars, state crimes and political violence. The artists give special attention to the colonial rule in German East Africa, modern-day Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Whereas Tanzania is remembering the traumatizing years of German colonialism by commemorating almost 300,000 deaths, Germany's hold hardly plays a role in Rwanda's or Burundi's heritage practice. The artists are tackling this discrepancy by scrutinizing the life and time of Richard Kandt, resident on behalf of the German Emperor in Rwanda between 1907 and 1914. It is reported that the explorer was a charismatic figure in his time. In fact, he is well-respected in Rwanda until today, since his former residence in Kigali is now a natural history museum named after him.

King’s and Kaya’s creative output is reflecting Kandt’s work against the backdrop of the destructive consequences of German colonialism in Africa. Their cultural production is called "More About Richard Kandt" (M.A.R.K.) and is committed to explore new ways of cooperation in order to shape a future that transforms both the colonial and the postcolonial mind-sets.

M.A.R.K. is made possible by the Burden of Memory project fund, provided by the Goethe Institutes in Cameroon and Namibia. The fund supports cultural practitioners from Africa, who work on the confrontation with the German colonial past in their countries and offers to deal with the negative consequences of German colonialism in Africa.  In 2020, six projects from all over Africa project have been selected by the international jury whose members were Chantal Djedje (Cote d’Ivoire), Rose Jepkorir Kiptum (Kenya) and Jay Pather (South Africa). More on the Burden of Memory project can be found here.

You can watch the video here:

Kaya Free and Kivumbi King. Picture by Valery Scheuerpflug Valery Scheuerpflug
Kaya Free and Kivumbi King. Picture by Valery Scheuerpflug