Germany will commemorate the 130th anniversary of the Berlin Conference in 2015. At the invitation of the German imperial chancellor Bismarck, representatives from 14 nations met in Berlin where they signed the so-called “Congo Act” which provided the framework for the division of Africa into colonies and the economic exploitation of the continent. The Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg Platz marked this historic date by artistically and academically examining German colonial rule and the lingering effects of colonialism on society, politics and culture.
This interdisciplinary thematic event, directed by the dramaturge Sebastian Kaiser, included scenic readings and interventions, installations, performances, a poetry slam, films, concerts and public discussions which emphasised the personal views of contemporary artists from Germany and African countries with regard to historic documents and the traces of colonialism in their home countries.
The programme included a participative performance by the Ghanaian artist Bernard Akoi Jackson, highlighting the history of German colonial rule in the Volta regions of Ghana. The Madagascan filmmaker Laza developed an animation film which investigates why the Nazis considered deporting European Jews to Madagascar. Post-colonial identities and the “Fortress of Europe” are subjects which numerous young writers and spoken-word artists in African countries are addressing. The Volksbühne hosted a poetry slam with leading figures of the scene. The theme-based event also included a symposium on the ideology of colonialism, a film programme developed by Alexandra Engel and Christian Morin, and a video lecture by Jürgen Küttner on the question “What do Germans want in Africa?” “Africa Conference” originated from a research project titled “The Nightingale Expedition”, also funded through the TURN fund.
Artistic director: Sebastian Kaiser (DE)
Participants: Bernard Akoi-Jackson (HG), Bas Boettcher (DE), Christian Etongo (CM), Prinz Alexandre Kum’a Ndumbe III (CM), Jürgen Kuttner (DE), Laza (MG), Philip Metz (DE), Markus Öhrn (SE), Rosa Amelie Plumelle-Urbe (CO), Benedict Koyo Quaya (GH), Temye Tesfu (DE), Jürgen Zimmerer (DE), Wanjiku Mwaurah (KE)