Decolonial Dialogues

Towards a New Relational Ethic between Africa and Europe

To this day, colonialism – as a system of injustice and its consequences – continues to shape the relationship between Africa and Europe. Dealing with this colonial legacy is a multi-layered, often contradictory, and above all open process. Unfortunately, it is still in its infancy in terms of receiving a broad public and political reception in Germany. Against the background of a centuries-old entangled history between the two continents, systemic decolonisation can only succeed as a joint effort.

4-part online series 2023

The Heinrich Böll Foundation's Decolonial Dialogues are entering the next round. In four digital conversations, central aspects of a postcolonial relational ethic between Africa and Europe will be discussed.

After the introductory session on the content and direction of decolonisation, it will be about cooperation after the restitution of colonial looted property.

The third discussion asks about fair conditions for reciprocal mobility between the continents. The last dialogue of the series deals with African and European attitudes towards the
human-nature relationship.

I Decolonisation in Europe and Africa: How does it work?

Wed, 15 March 2023, 5-7pm

The discussion will focus on goals and steps for the transformation of colonially shaped structures both in the formerly colonised societies and in the former colonial powers. Where are there agreements, where are there differences in European and African debates, depending on location and topic? What practical steps can we take together in transcontinental solidarity? And finally: How do we deal productively with differences and generate social support for our cause?


  • Prof. Mame-Penda Ba, Gaston Berger University, Saint-Louis / Senegal
  • Hamado Dipama, Umbrella organisation of the integration advisory boards in Bavaria / Germany
  • Dr. Philmon Ghirmai, State Chair Alliance 90 / The Greens Berlin
  • Dr. Mahret Ifeoma Kupka, art scholar / curator, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt a. M.
  • Nicholas Calvin Mwakatobe, filmmaker & photographer (e.g. „Vinyago“), Dar es Salaam / Tanzania

Moderation: Aisha Camara

Stream recording from 15.3.2023

Language: English

Decolonisation in Europe and Africa: How does it work? - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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Language: English

Language: French

Décolonisation en Europe et en Afrique : Comment ça marche? - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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II Restitution as an end or starting point: What happens after the return?

Thursday, 11 May 2023, 5-7 p.m.

Return of ancestors and restitution of stolen cultural property are important steps towards coming to terms with colonial injustice. But restitution should not be the end point of the entangled history of survivors and descendants of perpetrators, but should enable the transition to a new relational ethic. What needs to happen for politics, museums and the public in Europe to move in this direction? What expectations do the communities of origin and their governments have of the former colonial powers for the time after restitution? And how can future-oriented cooperation grow out of such processes?

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  • Molemo Moiloa, artist, Museum Futures Africa, Open Restitution Africa, South Africa
  • Sylvie Njobati, restituition activist / founder Sysy House of Fame, Cameroon
  • Dr. Oluwatoyin Zainab Sogbesan, architect, cultural historian, art and heritage specialist, and museologist, Nigeria
  • Dr. Richard Legay, senior researcher, Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Mehler, director, Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut, Germany
  • Dr. Mahret Ifeoma Kupka, art scholar / curator, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt a. M.

Moderation: Aisha Camara

III Transcontinental mobility: How much encounter does decolonisation need?

Monday, 19 June 2023, 5-7 p.m.

A new relational ethic between Africa and Europe presupposes that people from both continents can meet under more favourable conditions. While people from Europe can travel to the neighbouring continent largely unhindered, the reverse route is often arduous and costly for African people. Moreover, it often leads to visa rejections under humiliating circumstances. What needs to be done to ensure opportunities for mobility and cooperation? What can be concretely improved?

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Human-Nature Relationship: How can the protection of biodiversity in Europe and Africa succeed?

Thursday, 21 September 2023, 5-7 p.m.

The natural areas of African countries, which together harbour a quarter of the world's biodiversity, are under increasing pressure of use. As a solution to the extinction of species on the continent, some Western actors and African governments are proposing the expansion of protected areas to the exclusion of the communities living or farming there. What concepts for the long-term protection of ecosystems are being developed and exemplarily practiced in African and European societies? What joint steps can civil society forces in Africa and Europe take to address the systemic causes of nature destruction in North and South?

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Recording of event: I Release of Forces

Decolonial Dialogues I: Release of Forces - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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Recording of event: II Europe’s colonial “backpack”

Europe's colonial "backpack" - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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Video recording: III Narratives of the objects

(De)Koloniale Erinnerungen in der DDR - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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Video recording: IV (De)Colonial memory in the GDR

(De)Koloniale Erinnerungen in der DDR - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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