Cameroon’s Cultural Heritage in Germany – UDs seek solutions
With the cooperation of the Cameroonian Embassy in Germany, The Technische Universität Berlin and the Université de Dschang organized a conference hosted by the DFG-funded research project from the 1st -3rd June 2023. This conference marks the publication of “Atlas der Abwesenheit. Kameruns Kulturerbe in Deutschland”a Reverse Collection History with the aim to Reconstruct (of facts) restitute (of knowledge) reconnect (with cultural heritage and history).
The three-day discussion reflected on questions related to the history and future of Cameroon‘s material cultural heritage. Questions at the conference pondered on: What practical and theoretical tools can be used to reconstruct the often-violent journey of cultural entities, the so-called museum objects, from Cameroon to Germany?
What language(s) can the history of the spoliations be written, and with which words can the perspective of the dispossessed be conveyed?
How can possibilities for reconnection are generated with cultural heritage and history, and what challenges are linked to these processes after 100 years of presence in Germany / absence in Cameroon?
The university of Dschang was represented by Professor Albert Gouaffo among a host of others .Prof Albert , a don in German literature and cultural studies as well as intercultural communication at the Université of Dschang with his research interests including transfer research, German literature of the colonial period in Africa and the African diaspora, memory studies and provenance research on cultural objects stolen during German colonisation. Together with Bénédicte Savoy, from the, Technische Universität Berlin lead the research project « Reverse History of Collections ». He is a member of numerous committees’ in Germany, including the advisory board « Colonial Contexts » at the German Lost Art Foundation. Lars Christian Koch is director for the Collections of Staatliche Museen zu Berlin at Humboldt Forum.
The studies show that German museums hold 40,000 objects from former colony Cameroon. This is as a result of a two years’ work from researchers from Germany and Cameroon and was supported by curators at 45 German museums. The museum with the largest holding of Cameroonian objects include Linden museum with more than 8000 and Berlin’s Ethnological Museum and the Crassi Museum in Leipzig each with more than 5000./