"Hey Hamburg, do you know Douala Manga Bell?" The exhibition on German colonial history at the MARKK

Monday, January 31 2022

Opening Times

Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Thursday: 10.00 am - 9.00 pm


Museum am Rothenbaum. Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK)
Rothenbaumchaussee 64
20148 Hamburg-Rotherbaum
.How to get there

Exhibition runs until 31.12.2022

"People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them" James Baldwin.

The exhibition "Hey Hamburg, do you know Douala Manga Bell?" can be admired at the Museum am Rothenbaum (MARKK) until the end of 2022. It tells and shows the evocative, exemplary and widely forgotten story of the rebellious King Rudolph Douala Manga Bell from the Bell trading dynasty.

A story that took place a little more than 100 years ago in Douala, Cameroon, and whose telling should help to better understand and come to terms with a central part of our history, that of the colonial era.

King Douala Manga Bell is still a symbolic figure in Cameroon today. The Bonn-educated lawyer, who spoke fluent German, defended the sovereignty of the local population of Douala with his actions. He stood up for the right to property and fair trade with the Germans and was killed for it.

The German colonialists saw Douala Manga Bell's struggle for fair trade as a threat to their interests. So they sentenced him to death by hanging on flimsy charges. This was despite the fact that Douala Manga Bell's struggle was peaceful. He believed in the German legal system until his death and fought against the expropriation of his people with petitions and telegrams.

Rudolf Duala Manga Bell und Tube Meetom mit der Lehrerfamilie Oesterle in Aalen (c)Roeger,Platino
1990s Leihgabe (c) Delphine Douala Bell
Ttkombo (c) Herve Youmbi
Isango Maske Basel III-781 2362DDB Kopfaufsatzmaske (c) Museum der Kulturen Basel
Ausstellung zur deutschen Kolonialgeschichte (c) Schimweg MARKK

The Princess Marylin Manga exhibition was initiated by Douane Bell, and Dr Barabara Planckensteiner from the Museum am Rothenbaum. It is the wish of the makers to tell the painful story - to convey it to the young generation, so that this story contributes to the development of peaceful relations between both sides, to create a respectful way of dealing with each other.

To make it exciting and inviting, especially for young people and families, the makers decided to tell the story in the style of a graphic novel. This approach is a complete success. The excellent drawing style of Karo Akpokiere brings the spirit of the colonial era back to life and immerses the viewer in the story.

The exhibition also combines historical objects from the Littoral region with exhibits of contemporary art from Cameroon. This concept works. One feels integrated into the life and history of Cameroon, which is told in a vibrant, comprehensible and vivid style. By the way, those who cannot make it to the exhibition in Hamburg can also experience the museum visit as a virtual tour.

The plan is to bring the exhibition to Douala in Cameroon after it has been shown in Hamburg, thus laying the foundation for further cooperation between Hamburg and Douala. We wish this vital project many interested visitors.

For those who would like to explore the topic of colonialism and its consequences beyond the exhibition, we recommend the work of Immer.wieder:Widerstand, an artists' collective from Hamburg. Finally, we would like to leave the closing words to Princess Marylin Douala Bell: "Inform yourselves, so we will have the opportunity to exchange."

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“Hey Hamburg, do you know Douala Manga Bell?” – The exhibition on German colonial history at the MARKK
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