Rue de la Résistance
Rue de la Résistance [Resistance Street] aims to explore how the idea of “spectres” in the public space induces a space of resistance. I visited the Afrikanisches Viertel, the African neighbourhood in Berlin, with Mnyaka Sururu Mboro, an activist and researcher from the Berlin Postkolonial group. Their work aims to rename the streets that endorse colonialism to memorialise the names of African resistance instead. I wanted to put this conflict in dialogue with the work we carried out in Lubumbashi in 2013 with Congolese writer Albert Kapepa and Belgian architectural historian Johan Lagae, from the University of Ghent. The idea was to create an imagined city which could merge this previous research on African resistance with the Afrikanisches Viertel in Berlin. The main place of tension for me was Nachtigalplatz, named after Gustav Nachtigal, who is considered the “discoverer” of Cameroon. Mboro is working towards changing the name of the square to commemorate a resistance fighter against colonisation, like Rudolf Manga Bell. In the same way, I wanted to create a city where Simon Kimbangu, the Congolese prophet, can appear in the public space, a city where people like Lubumba, Rosa Parks and the men and women involved in the idea of decolonisation can be given a tribute. I created a map and recorded three different voices to provide that narrative. One voice is Albert Kapepa, explaining how Kimbangu and the haunted houses of Lubumbashi are manifestations in the public space of the ghosts who are not resting – people who were killed, and whose ghosts are still coming into the public space to help us remember that the struggle for decolonisation needs to continue. Another voice is an explanation of the colonial power axis in the city, l’axe du pouvoir, by Johan Lagae. The last piece is a recording from my visit to the Afrikanisches Viertel with Mboro. At the Waza Art Centre in Lubumbashi I finalised the map. You can see the Kimambu Platz, which is my imagining of the new Nachtigalplatz, with the Lubumba Allee, which can replace Peters Allee, and Rosa Parks Straße, which can replace another street. You can imagine also Kimpa Vita here, the famous 17th century prophet and leader from Congo. And now, we see that all those colonial names, all those problematic names, can be invaded by the ghosts of the resistance.
Patrick Mudekereza lives and works in Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he is an opérateur culturel. He runs the artistic association Rencontres Picha, and has opened an art centre and organised four Biennales for photography and video.