Christoph Schlingensief’s utopian vision for an opera village in Burkina Faso, where a stage, rehearsal space, school, hospital, hotel, church, and large communal kitchen, would be constructed for the community to produce work and live within was grand and commendable but as Kerstin Eckstein and Michael Schönhuth of [the German paper] Der Zeit see it, perhaps not fully planned through. The theoretical gesamtkunstwerk was initiated before the late Schlingensief’s death and has since been taken on by his wife, Aino Laberenz. Yet it is struggling to meet the late artist’s somewhat opaque vision. In March 2011, following FESPACO, the Goethe Institut organized a series of conversations in Ouagadougou about the project. Schönhuth and Eckstein point out that it may have been more beneficial to have representatives from neighboring villages or members of the local cultural scene rather than art experts and curators who knew Schlingensief. Furthermore, in a place with no tradition or concept of opera, but rather a tradition of suspicion towards bourgeois European cultural elites, it may be hard to find community support for the project. While Schlingensief was careful to avoid the clutches of neocolonialism through irony, self-accusation, and exaggeration, he also fell into the discourse of wanting to be healed and purified by what he called Africa’s “purity and originality.” Schönhuth and Eckstein acknowledge that this opera village has been conceived of in an entirely different way than Schlingensief’s earlier projects, and that in these beginning stages of its construction and development it must work with a large network of local initiators and actors to sustain itself. However, they seem to see that this process is underway with the help and moderation of the Goethe-Institut. Only time will tell.
How the film, ‘I am Samuel’ about a gay Kenyan couple was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board.
This week on AIAC Talk: 2021 has been declared a great year for African literature, but what does that actually mean?
In a country like South Africa where government trust is low, gangsters and criminals who provide assistance to their communities are seen as the people’s champions.
On the back of a failed COP26 climate conference: how e-waste dumping by European countries in Africa contribute significantly to climate change.
In the last video for our Nairobi edition of Capitalism in My City, we meet the Organic Intellectuals Network.
Xenophobia and questions of belonging haunt Indian South Africans. What does that mean for solidarity with Black South Africans?
La longue histoire du classisme et de l’homophobie dans les espaces publics et médiatiques au Cameroun.
The long history of classism and homophobia in public and media spaces in Cameroon.
The mass atrocities of the 1899 French invasion of what is Niger today are finally being treated with the gravity and consequence they deserve in Western popular histories.
Street names are political weapons. They produce memories, attachment and intimacy—all while often sneakily distorting history.
We have to become more open to the possibility that what our society needs is not better policing, but less. And ultimately no policing at all.
In November 2017, Robert Mugabe was toppled in a coup. Amid this epochal change, life—and cricket—simply went on for Zimbabweans, who are still in search of a better future.
Will Ethiopia’s civil war blow up its dream of a single state, and in the process, blow up Western notions of statebuilding?
The documentary, Rumba Kings, offers a commendable and tireless argument for both an intangible cultural heritage case and a centering of the Congolese way.
On this week’s AIAC Talk: Haiti is not down on its luck, it is deliberately under-developed by Western powers.
Colonialism should take a lot of blame for anti-queer attitudes in Africa. But missing is a frank engagement with how African indigenous cultures also fuel anti-queer attitudes.
Sudanese women took part in the revolution in large numbers for the same reasons they are now part of the resistance against this treacherous coup: Their human rights are at stake.
In this post, the writer, from Cape Town, reflects on the life of her working class father, who like her friends’ fathers worked tough jobs for low pay, and hid his vulnerabilities.
A new book on policing in South Africa wants to go beyond the usual call for reform. But adapting literature tuned for reform to the task of abolition is a difficult needle to thread.
This week’s episode of AIAC Talk is a replay of the launch of the latest issue of Amandla! magazine, a South African publication advancing radical left perspectives for change.