The africologne Festival was initiated in 2011 as a biennial festival at the Bauturm in Cologne. In 2017 it took place for the fourth time and significantly expanded its international contacts.For the first time in 2017, africologne collaborated with satellite venues and partners in Paris and Düsseldorf, as well as co-production partners in other European and African countries, including the Tanz NRW in Düsseldorf, the Festival de Marseille, the Festival Récréâtrales in Burkina Faso and the Tarmac des Auteurs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The 2017 edition particularly focused on African theatre traditions and current artistic developments on the African continent.
Some 75 artists from 14 countries had been invited to participate. The festival has opened at the Cologne Opera on 14 June 2017 with the choreographic masterpiece “Kalakuta Republic” by the internationally acclaimed choreographer and dancer Serge Aimé Coulibaly. The festival also included outstanding theatrical pieces by Etienne Minoungou, whose work “Si nous voulons vivre” examines the bold thought experiments by the Congolese poet and visionary Sony Labou Tansi, and the writer/actor Criss Niangouna, whose play “Costume ou demi-Dakar” offers a stunning analysis of a society marked by war, political despotism and the fight for survival.
The festival’s political accent is voiced by such writers as Sony Labou Tansi, Aimé Césaire and invited guests like Felwine Sarr from Senegal, Odile Sankara and Smockey from Burkina Faso, who participated in various events including the discussion forum titled “Fake Democracy – Democracy in Africa: Illusion or Opportunity?” Together with other guests from eight African countries and the political cabaret group ZAMBESI NEWS, they discussed the power of governments, the possibility of resistance, and the role of Europe.
Artistic director: Gerhardt Haag
Project director and curator: Kerstin Ortmeier
Artists: Laetitia Ajanohun (BE), Panaibra Gabriel Canda (MZ), Serge Aimé Coulibaly/Faso Danse Theatre (BF), Edoxi L. Gnoula (BF), Jan-Christoph Gockel, Laurenz Leky, Philipp Löhle, Etienne Minoungou/Compagnie Falinga (BF), Nicole Nagel, Criss Niangouna (CG) and others