Holes in the memory

Credits: GERMAN CAMEROON - Map by Max Moisel in 1913

It is very delicate to talk about Africa, when we know how much some people, out of ignorance and indecency, evoke this continent with multiple facets of extreme complexity; from Algeria to Cape Town, from Sudan to the depths of the equatorial forest, just to pretend to consider it as a country.


Unless one still retains the genes of chronic ignorance or the arrogance of colonialism not yet weaned and brought up to date, Africa is not a country.


It seems to be said of Africa, the ‘FUTURE’ world. Who understands better the scope of this statement? For what unavowed reasons is it said? Who even says so?


For my part, I do not want to go back over 200 years of history that has been sliced up and sawn up to suit each of the lies and theatrics, which demonstrate both the diplomatic and especially the media (one working for the other), which truncate this idea of Africa as mother-nurturing land.


For those of us who are there or affiliated with it, our artistic commitments are there to question these still gaping holes of an imposed past. Even if it were to occur to us to talk about our history, what would we base it on?


Cartographer Max Moisels tracings for our territorial claims? Okay, let’s clarify the thoughts then! We will talk about the invasion or the invader who landed in Cameroon from the beiges of Wouri, Limbe or Kribi. We will speak of the enslavement that clogged our bodies with triques and straps on our backs. We will talk about the forced roping of young,
vigorous and virile men, threatened with gagging, who left their families for unpaid work in the palm oil, cocoa and rubber plantations, for the cutting of rocks, for the break of the railway, the mother of a production that left here to be unloaded in Hamburg, Wittenberg and other places of our beloved GREAT GERMANY.

We will talk about this slavery which has been brought back into fashion under the skirts, with the fly open, of the poor negro who still begs shamefully for his daily bread.

What about the definitive map of Cameroon which was drawn up by Max Moisel in 1913 to satisfy his agent without taking into account the local links of brotherhood. The famous map that separated the Issou brothers from the Moundan, Bakweri and Baya families, etc.

If we have to think about the wounds, what memories will we wash away in this adventure? That of Rudol Douala Manga Bell, that of Ngosso Din, that of the anonymous populations forgotten by the memory of history?

The great mute of this memory that hovers and whose nature even manifested itself through the tears of fire, belching the cries and blood of those who fell innocently from the fury
of the invader. To ask this question through a channel inaudible to the voracious mechanics of the machine that each day increases its strength tenfold to crush our silences.

How can we give back our complicit backstrokes that further bastardize the fight of our fathers to keep inviolate the lands that only the force of spears and assegais will hardly have succeeded in influencing Eugen von Zimmerer.

I would like to raise a grave here and now.
I would now like to raise a grave for my mother.
Here and now I would like to raise a grave for my father.

All the poor parents on the continent who cry out their incapacity with rosary and bible in hand. I would like here and now to salute all our genuflections to shout psalmodically that if you are slapped on the left cheek, turn the other one again for an even more ringing slap.

I would like here and now to salute all the cads who imposed on the crumbling old men of 243 ethnic groups at the edge of the tombs to speak only Duala, Ewondo as an entrance exam to the A1 and B1 classes.

That is why I extend this hand to you, Germany. I would like to raise this hymn on the grave of my father from the verses of the book, from your book. I would like this last time for you to look 14 times at my fall – memory that goes back and forth from Buea to Douala.

And here is that on the eve of this hanging of the one you yourself offered us.

Rudolf Douala Manga Bell.
Rudolf Douala Manga Bell.

The night he was handed over, feeling his death was near, he took his feet and walked to the hiding place of his wife’s, his family’s, last entrenchment, for a last Judas kiss, and then returned to his task.

Where will we find his grave?

Our forgotten memories question those who dislodged the natives, dug up the graves to grab the land by the barrel of a gun. We question those who forbade the millennia-old generations of a fishing people to go near the Wouri, the waters that represent the only source of survival.

At the helm, we call : Julius Von Soden, Jesko Von Puttkamer
Eugen Von Zimmerer, Markus Graf Pfeil, Bruno von Schuckmann von Lücke, Theodor Seitz, August Köhler von Kamptz, Otto Gleim, Oberst Müller, Hans Dominik. Et Woermann Et Jantzen Et Thormalen.

And Kolonial Wirtschaftliches Komittee, the colonial economic committee (CCE) created in 1898.
And the German-Douala Treaty (Treaty of 1884) signed on 12 July 1884 between two German trading companies and the Ndumbé Lobè Bell and Akwa Dika Mpondo kings of the Cameroonian coast.

Daddy, how much does a kilogram of cocoa cost?
Mama, how much is a kilogram of coffee?

How much is that heap of cassava that is shredding the backs of our kindergartens?

Today, who will speak of your memory, of my memory. Who will speak of the forgotten reign of our parents? The forgotten reign of our ancestors. Who will awaken this imposture stuck to our consciences?