Bonaventure Ndikung: An African-born director’s vision for Berlin’s cultural magnet

Bonaventure Ndikung. Photo: John MACDOUGALL

Cameroon-born Bonaventure Ndikung has been appointed as the new director of the “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” (House of World Cultures) in Berlin, a cultural institution built by the Americans during the Cold War. 

Ndikung, who is one of the rare African-born figures to head a German cultural institution, said in a recent AFP interview he aims to highlight post-colonial multiculturalism at the centre with its roots in Western hegemony. The centre, which reopened in June after renovations, is known locally as the “pregnant oyster” due to its sweeping, curved roof. 

Ndikung’s first project “Quilombismo” fits in with his aims of expanding the centre’s offerings. The exhibition takes its name from the Brazilian term “Quilombo”, referring to the communities formed in the 17th century by African slaves, who fled to remote parts of the South American country. 

Throughout the summer, there will also be performances, concerts, films, discussions and an exhibition of contemporary art from post-colonial societies across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. Ndikung has renamed all of the rooms in the centre after women and wants the exhibition space to be filled with “different cultures of the world”.


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