Speaking of African images there is going to be another exhibition around Africa this time in Germany and this time with real live people!
"African Village" is to be opened within the zoo of Augsburg, Germany. Artisans, silversmiths, basket makers and traditional hairdressers are situated in an unique African steppe landscape" according to the leaflets handed out by the organizers of the show. The conveners obviously are oblivious of the fact that exhibits like the one planned in Augsburg are organized within the German tradition of racist "ethnographic shows"
The idea behind the "exhibit" is too put Africans under display in an "atmosphere of exoticism". The African Village has to be seen in an historical context of German colonialist and national socialism where "people of colour are still seen as exotic objects (of desire) as basically dehumanised entities within the realm of animals." It is the" history of ethnographic shows" in Nazi Germany where Africans were used for experiments of "questionable scientific benefit" that adds to the offensiveness of this exhibition.
African Germans together with Professors Toyin Falola of University of Texas and Norbert Finzsch of the University of Cologne are calling for a protest to take place at the opening of the exhibit at Augsburg Zoo or alternatively to write to firstname.lastname@example.org. (pls BCC to email@example.com)
The opening of this exhibit is scheduled for July 9 – July 12. 2005. One has to ask how this has come about? It is unbelievable that here we are in the 21stC something like this is taking place. This is the kind of thing that is still taking place in Europe: Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Swiss, Greece, Poland, Italy etc. Countries where racism is insidious and ingrained within people’s psyche. Where it is institutionalised and the norm and not even questioned at any level.