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KASONGO (IM)MATERIAL explores the forgotten history of the Swahili-Arab in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their trajectory from oppressors to oppressed along with the local adoption of their culture and language mirror the tensions and ambivalence of history and heritage. Interweaving scenes from excavations with archival material and contemporary recordings, an archaeologist and a photographer engage with the affective impact of that which persists from the past into the present.


KASONGO (IM)MATÉRIEL explore l'histoire oubliée des Arabo-Swahili en République démocratique du Congo. Leur trajectoire d'oppresseurs à opprimés ainsi que l'adoption locale de leur culture et de leur langue reflètent les tensions et l'ambivalence de l'histoire et du patrimoine. En croisant scènes de fouilles avec matériels d’archives et enregistrements contemporains, une archéologue et un photographe évoquent l'impact affectif de ce qui persiste du passé au présent.

With support from the Gerda Henkel Foundation

The Archaeology and Oral History of Slavery in the Maniema Province


Funding has been obtained for a research project on slavery and the arrival of Islam linked to the Swahili-Arab’s presence in the Maniema Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the 19th century merchants from the East African coast used existing caravan routes to penetrate into the interior of Central Africa, where they established important slave and ivory markets on the Lualaba River. The focus will be on the physical remains associated to this trade in slaves and ivory, the adoption of Islam and the collection of resident communities’ memories pertaining to these sites. An additional element will be the creation of a visual record on historical connections and memory.

Project partners: Institut des Musées Nationaux de Congo, Universities of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, Africa Museum and Georges Senga; Funding: Gerda Henkel Stiftung

The Energy of the Cosmos

The impasse of the Saharawi question has resulted in the widespread loss of access to and knowledge of Saharawi heritage. The creation of a comic book shall counter this phenomenon and serve as a tangible testimony of the richness of Saharawi heritage. The choice of a comic book is to engage with an inclusive public, targeting a young audience from the age of 10 years as well as adults. The book will be split into various chapters, each focusing on a particular theme, such as poetry, traditional medicine, Saharawi hospitality, celestial navigation, camel husbandry, etc. Two major protagonists from the golden age of poetry (18th-19th centuries) will guide the reader through the book’s various chapters.

Project partners: Nass (Association for Sustainable Development and Cultural Exchange, based in Dakhla); Funding: to be confirmed

Azemmour, Mémoires du Futur

Azemmour, located 75 km to the south of Casablanca, boasts one of the oldest medinas in Morocco but finds itself in an advanced state of neglect and degradation. Initiated by Polymorfilms in 2015, “Azemmour, Mémoires du Future”, seeks to address the knowledge gap and re-appropriation of the medina’s collective history, material, immaterial and living heritage. As a citizen-led project it works towards a conscious engagement for the future of Azemmour’s medina by taking concrete and constructive actions, such as the three-dimensional mapping of the medina, the recording of life stories and the collection of confirmed historical and archaeological sources as well as of objects that tell a collective history.

Project partners: Polymorfilms, Fondation Azemmour de Développement Local, Anatis Flumen, L'Atelier de l'Observatoire, Collectif Topoï; Funding: Ville de Bruxelles

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