By +Caroline Anande Uliwa
|Heba El-Sherif inside Von Ronald's office|
being taken on a tour with all of us inside
the news room of his paper.
On cultivating a new sense of our practice, what kind of uhmn means in your context here in Germany, arise for culture journalists who want to know how to play with words or play with format, do they ask for training?” Heba El-Sherif culture journalist in her 30’s from Egypt, asks culture editor/journalist Von Ronald Meyer-Arlt from Hannover, Germany.
Meyer –Arlt has 31 years experience in his field in responding to Heba he says “By criticizing...First time and the second time it gets boring, you can’t always get new perspectives on this issue...maybe a book is a good medium for that but a newspaper. You have to bring out every day something curious something tricky, something brilliant.”
|Inside Brunswick Cathedral with the 1845 medieval frescoes. |
It's such a beautiful building you feel reverent inside it.
This summer (June 3rdth -15th) I found myself in the quiet city of Braunschweig in Germany, invited thus with other 11 culture journalists, from various countries in Africa. So as to attend and document the ‘Theatreformen’ festival, as well coagulate and solidify a network of African Culture Journalists, in an all expenses paid and facilitated for trip.
I was ecstatic, see I hail from a country-Tanzania, where bloggers are currently asked to pay an annual fee of 900USD as tax and despite protests leading to a court case, the edict is now enacted.
|I liked this window dressing on a boutique in the streets of|
Braunschweig. Notice the scarf on the yellow dress, sort of
has an African Kitenge doesn't it :)
As a culture journalist currently freelancing for newspapers in my country & region of East Africa, where according to existing rates, I get a maximum of 50USD per article, with an average 100USD salary from the same. I resorted to blogging back in 2014 not to make money initially (I haven’t made a penny blogging to date) but to fairly test my ability to; ‘bring out ...something curious...something brilliant’ as Meyer -Arlt puts it.
Yet here I was in Braunschweig a first world planned city. The universe dared clash me with titans of my industry, coming from all corners of the continent think Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Cameroon, DRC Congo, Kenya and two from my host continent Europe, both hailing from Germany.
|From left culture journalists Heba El Sherif |
from Egypt and Monica Nkodo, and Yvon Edoumou
Something began to break open inside me, on both a professional and personal front. Something I saw reflected in the pieces I saw on several stages inside the ‘Theatreformen’ 2018 festival https://www.theaterformen.de/en/news a festival which this year asked ‘what will freedom look like?’.
|From left Mounia Melborg from Germany, |
Mihel from Germany, facilitators
for the culture journalist afro network
I answer it will be, once the stereotype of mainstream journalism patriarchal reporting as it were. Acknowledges it has had a wife, who for too long has been brushed aside as mere ‘gossip’ or ‘sensational paparazzi’. When this wife screams I am ‘culture journalism!
Then more and more countries of our one world; will enable the likes of culture journalists Oprah Winfrey and Anna Wintour. Where I in turn will breathe see, what freedom looks like. Here are three performances I witnessed inside ‘Theatreformen’ that coaxed the following words from my cultural pen.
|From right Milisuthando Bongela from South Africa |
with Yvon both culture journalists
present at the theatreformen 2018 festival
Soon the director Takuya Murakawa proceeds to introduce his play, “China, Korea and Japan have a big role in this play, and the home-care of a physically disabled person becomes the main subject...”
We sit attentively witnessing a play with mime like instructions, as the set save for the hospital bed, a chair, ‘television’ and border lines on the floor. Is made alive by gestures operating imaginary objects from the actors, with the main character (Mr Yokomori an old veteran now bedridden unable to speak or move) acted by a woman. ‘His’ body is automated by the care givers, at their whim they dictate how he sits, eats, what channel he sees, how he regulates his bowel movement and so forth.
|With fellow group members waiting outside |
the show 'independent living'
inside theatreformen festival 2018
Sitting there watching the monotony of painstaking motions, as we put ourselves in the characters shoes. It was a grey area whether Mr Yokomori was truly taken care of, while his body alive, was he free?
Hearing the actors speak in Japanese, Korean & Chinese, I felt a cognisance better explained by this African proverb. ‘Until the Story of the hunt is told by the Lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’ Independent living, made me see a country with a ‘dictator’ like Kim Jong-un, inhabiting persons not so cold, not so in-humane.
On the first night of the Theatreformen festival, at the city park in Braunschweig, under the smart direction of Chrstoph Braun (manager and curator of the music programme of the Theatreformen 2018 festival).
|Me in the middle with Hailu Mergia |
on the right and the base player Atemseged Kebede
after their show inside the theatreformen festival 18
Smart for as I neared the stage, there were no sudden screeches from the microphones being too close to the speakers, despite it being a small stage (about four by six metres square) set outdoors. There was no rapid hand gestures from the musicians to the sound desk at the back, motioning for this’ or that’ volume to be increased.
As my ears witnessed the genius of Hailu Mergia’s trio, my bones were enticed to dance! What made his music special on this night was visible in how the eclectic crowd present. Including a band of native Ethiopians, a healthy dose of Caucasian Germans as well sprinkles of Afro/Asian-politans like me.
Despite our melody v/s percussion affiliation in how we dance, Hailu together with Mr Atemseged Kebede’s base guitar and Kenneth Josephs drums; had us gurgling on real music myrrh as our bodies giggled to the music. “We do stuff that’s from the heart...if you’re not touching hearts you’re not doing your job.” Hailu 72 relays with a smile befitting an old kind wise man.
Because I always feel like running
21:20 sharp on the 10th June, the show begins Ogutu Muraya takes us on a journey weaving poetry, moving pictures and body installation. Whole script in his head the African griot is resuscitated on his tongue, as he tells us the story of three East African athletes.
‘Because I always feel like running’ isn’t for the faint hearted Mr Muraya in this performance, touches the live wire of African racial and colonial mutilation. Such that I found myself as an African woman, who had recently landed on European soil for the first time as an adult.
|The big city park in Brunswick, in Germany |
overlooking a beautifully planned neighbourhood.
Acknowledging in a real way how this soil whose inhabitants in less than five generations past, had defeated mine. Looting items from the Serengeti (Ivory, Leather hides, Minerals), to the homes of thousands of my ancestors in Tanzania as though it was ok. Relics of which remain on this soil to date.
As Ogutu kept reciting the bravery of Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia, Kipchoge Keino from Kenya and John Steven Akhwari from Tanzania, something cracked open in my mind and I walked out, for...
Somewhere I break
|The installation detailing the life of Luz Helena Mavin Guzman |
in a city window inside
Braunschweig's theatreformen festival 2018
Like the wings of Sthembile Msezana
Najikuta natafuta wapi naruka
Ukiniruhusu, kama nnavyo pumua
My Post Traumatic African dis-order
Breathes in percussive resurrection
A hairstyle, squeezed fences,
All head to my great, great mother’s door.
Kama machozi ya anayevuliwa nguo k/koo
Najikuta natafuta wapi naruka
Ukiniruhusu, kama nnavyo pumua