GUEST: JÜRGEN ELLINGHAUS
Ein Ort namens Wahala
Jürgen Ellinghaus, D 2021, 56 min, Original with English Subtitles
In 1903 the German colonial administration created a “corrective settlement” near the Chra river in Togo, in which people who stood in the way of the colonial order because of “insubordination” were forcibly settled. Kabiye, Losso, Konkomba, Gurma, Mossi, Kotokoli, Akposso and Moba were brought here to Wahala from their hometowns, mostly hundreds of kilometers away. Their voices from the past break into images of the present.
On November 11 of each year, the soldiers who died here in 1914 and the armistice that ended the First World War in 1918 are solemnly commemorated at the Wahala War Cemetery. In August 1914, shortly after the Battle of the Chra between German and Franco-British colonial troops, the first German surrender of World War I was signed. It meant giving up what was then known as the »model colony« of Deutsch-Togoland. But Wahala’s history stretches back further than 1914, and the town’s very name is a reminder of its painful past. (rg)