After seven successful projects in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Mexico City, Guadalajara and Munich at international festivals, the choreographer Yolanda Gutiérrez, together with dancers and artists from Kigali: Frank Mugisha, Celine Manzi, Babou Tight King (dancers), Dolph Banza and Chris Schwagga (artists) goes on a search for colonial traces of memory sites in the city of Kigali. Above all the Kandt House is the best preserved building in the city of Kigali, built by one of the first Germans, who arrived in Rwanda. Richard Kandt is often referred to as the „founder of the city of Kigali“, although 2000 people had already lived there. The historical narrative begins in the colonial era with the arrival of the colonizers. The so-called „explorers“ give names to places, mountains, lakes, rivers, cities, countries all over the world, most of which still exist today.
With the Congo Conference of 1884-1885, the European powers divided Africa among themselves. This marked the beginning of colonialism by Germany at the African continent, even though German merchants were already involved in slave and merchant trade before the conference took place. At the invitation of Otto von Bismarck, European states, the Ottoman Empire and the USA met i the city of Berlin between 1884-1885.
The Germans did not stay long in Rwanda, but they left traces on a social, political, economic and cultural level.
Our search for traces is not only a historical one, but most important a personal one. Based on our own biography, we research and make a connection to the history of German colonialism on site.
As Frank Mugisha mentioned: „Looking behind the normative knowledge makes me emancipated mentally and physically and so I pass on other narratives to the next generations“.
For a fortnight, the choreographer and dancers will work at the Kandt Haus, hold talks with experts and make their own personal contribution. In relation to their own biographies, they will bring together historical facts with other insights that are not usually found in history books. A decolonizing performative tour is created on a site that has stood untouched since the beginning of the 20th century as a silent witness to the colonial past between Germany and Rwanda. The audience will witness a process of decoloniality at the Kandt Hose.
How can we deal with this part of history today?
How can we change our perspective and make an artistic contribution to this place?
Decolonize your mind! Decolonize your body! Decolonize your city!
[Concept/Choreography] Yolanda Gutiérrez
[By and with] Frank Mugisha, Celine Manzi and Babou Tight King
[Management Kigali] Konstantin Dupelius
[Assistance] Albert Djuma
[Audio/Music] Mantra Made
[Visual artists] Dolph Banza and Chris Schwagga
[Audioguide voices] The All Team
[Video documentation] Romeo Habimana
Equipment by http://www.silentdisco.de
A production by yolanda gutiérrez & projects and Goethe Institute- Rwanda.
Funded by Goethe Institute – Rwanda and Ministry of Culture and Media Hamburg