On Display: “African” activities of the German Goethe-Institut
February 10, 2012 1 Comment
The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution operational worldwide. It promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange. The network of Goethe-Instituts, Goethe Centres, cultural societies, reading rooms and exam and language learning centres plays a central role in the cultural and educational policies of Germany. It promotes German-African relationships and provides platforms for intercultural dialogue. This blog article presents seven snapshots from the activities in Africa South of the Sahara.
In Edéa, Cameroon, the mutual history of Cameroon and Germany was commemorated at a massive, 100-year-old steel structured bridge that the German colonial rulers once had built. The artist Pascale Marthine Tayou together with his team draped huge wooden figures standing on steles about it, did an intercultural production of Goethe’s Faust – another perennial favourite – and set up an installation based on the indigenous Cameroon writing system, finishing “Les flâneurs d’Edéa” (The Ramblers of Edéa).
2.) Literature Forum
The Literature Forum in Kenya brings together upcoming women writers and literary critics to share and discuss stories, poems and current literary trends with the aim of enhancing their creativity. The forum provides a space to listen to the voices of established and budding female writers – voices of women with a passion for literary adventure. “AMKA – Space for Women’s Creativity” and the Goethe-Institut organise monthly readings in the library of the Goethe-Institut every last Saturday of the month. Participation in the forum is open to both men and women.
3.) Writing about Africa
This brilliant internet feature allows the discovery of new German literature representing diverse images of Africa and is hosted by the Goethe-Institut South Africa. Selected books by German speaking authors who deal with Africa in all its many facets are reviewed and biographical information on the authors are given. The selection of books covers the following genres: Novels and stories, travel journals, journalistic reports and critical essays about Africa, biographies and autobiographies, youth literature and stories for children. The website also gives an overview on the most actively German publishing housed engaged with Africa.
In a recent blog article translations as examples of German-African cultural cooperation to preserve the cultural heritage of the Ewe people in present-day Togo and Ghana was portrayed. E.g., The Goethe Institut in Accra, Ghana, provided organisational support and contacts to Germany’s Federal Foreign Office which contributed a substantial amount of money to the translation of Jakob Spieth: The Ewe people : a study of the Ewe people in German Togo. – Accra : Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2011.
5.) Cultural Management in Africa (Capacity Development)
The Goethe-Institut offers an Advanced Training Programme on “Cultural Management in Africa” 2011 in its second round. 11 cultural managers from 10 sub-Saharan African countries observed the work of German cultural institutions. This time the focus was on French-speaking Africa.
This workshop series of the Goethe-Institut Kamerun is now in its third year and tackles questions on localization, the adaptation of ICT to the language and culture where it is used. The workshops worked e.g. on dictionaries for spell-checkers and on Simplified Cameroon keyboard layout to suit the local languages. The keyboard definition is supported, e.g. in the operating system Ubuntu.
7.) Library Portal Ghana
The Library Portal Ghana gives an overview of Ghana’s library and information scene and presents the main libraries and organisations. It has articles on the history of libraries, today’s library scene, on Library and Information Studies and the Ghana Library Association and some Links.
The websites and facebook-accounts of the different Goethe-Institutes in Africa give a lively picture of how they support local cultural activities, intercultural dialogue and more.
Goethe-Institut in Africa
|Burkina Faso||Quagadougou||Goethe-Institut Bureau de liaison Ouagadougou
Avenue de l’Université 192
|Mali||Bamako||Cercle Culturel Germano-Malien
Hamdallaye Aci 2000
Rue 323, Porte 66
|Nigeria||Lagos, Kano||Kano Liaison Office
21 Sokoto Road
|Rwanda||Kigali||Goethe-Institut Liaison Office
Centre Socio-récréatif de la Caisse Sociale de Kacyiru
|Tanzania||Dar es Salaam||http://www.facebook.com/goetheinstitutdaressalaam|
|Zimbabwe||Harare||Zimbabwe German Society
51 Lawson Avenue, Milton Park
P.O.B. A 980, Avondale
- Photographs by Goethe-Institut Kamerun