20. June 2024


Film Screening & Discussion - in English

We are carrying on with the "WHO'S GOT THE POWER?" series in cooperation with Förderverein Filmkultur at Brotfabrik, Bonn!

Our second film this year, THE EMPTY GRAVE (original: 'DAS LEERE GRAB'), a German-Tanzanian co-production by Agnes Lisa Wegner and Cece Mlay, was launched at the Berlinale Film Festival earlier this year. It addresses the legacy of the German colonial rule in Tanzania: the search for the physical remains of family members, the intergenerational trauma, the quest for justice, the question of future coexistence.

Everyone is warmly welcome to join us for the post-screening talk and reception with drinks and fingerfood in the informal setting of Studio 5.

On the panel representing the BCDSS:

Mary Aderonke Afolabi-Adeolu, PhD Researcher
Boluwatife Akinro, PhD Researcher
Dr. Mercy Mashingaidze, Postdoctoral Researcher & Lecturer

TIME: 4 July 2024
20:00: Screening
21:30: Discussion/Reception

LOCATION: Kino in der Brotfabrik, Kreuzstraße 16, 53225 Bonn
REGISTRATION: To help us plan, kindly register for the discussion/reception by 3 July (below).

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To this day, tens of thousands of human remains from former colonies are stored in German museums, with no clear process for their identification and repatriation. “The Empty Grave” follows two families on their arduous search for their ancestors. In southern Tanzania, the young lawyer John Mbano and his wife Cesilia trace the footsteps of his great-grandfather, who was executed over 100 years ago by the German colonial army. His ancestor’s skull was taken to Germany for racist "research purposes"; the family still suffers from this pain today. Similarly, Felix and Ernest Kaaya in northern Tanzania fight for the repatriation of their ancestor’s remains, traveling to the metropolis of Dar es Salaam. Both families struggle with the maze of German and Tanzanian bureaucracy but also receive support from activists like Mnyaka Sururu Mboro and Konradin Kunze, who raise awareness of the issue in Germany. With their help, the Mbano family is eventually received at the German Foreign Office in Berlin, and even President Steinmeier comes to their hometown to apologize for the inflicted suffering. However, the grave remains empty.

In their film, the German-Tanzanian directing duo Agnes Lisa Wegner and Cece Mlay talk about the traces and traumas that the former German colonial rule has left in Tanzanian families and communities to this day—and of the strength and empowerment of the survivors, who persistently strive for full disclosure. “The Empty Grave” sheds light on a previously (also cinematically) little-explored chapter of German history and makes an important contribution to the long-overdue reckoning with German colonial crimes.

Watch TRAILER and book your cinema TICKET.
Please note: Cinema ticket fees apply (€9 regular/€7 concession)

To help us plan, kindly REGISTER for the discussion/reception by 3 July.

4 July 2024, 20:00: Screening, 21:30: Discussion/Reception

Kino in der Brotfabrik Kreuzstraße 16, 53225 Bonn

Cécile Jeblawei Press and PR Manager

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