Colonial Misunderstanding (The)

Genre : Historical
Type : Documentary
Column : Cinema/tv, History/society
Year of production : 2004
Format : Feature

When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the Bible.
Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first elected Prime Minister and President

The connection between Christian evangelism and European colonialism exposed in a documentary about Germany's activities in Namibia, including their first use of concentration camps.

This documentary is a bold exploration of Germany's attempts to colonise parts of Africa through religion and trade. It scrutinises the role of missionaries in laying the groundwork for colonialism in countries like Togo, Cameroon, Namibia and South Africa. Through interviews with German and African experts Teno paints a provocative picture of the relatively short but nevertheless horrific German colonial history in Africa.


Documentary | 2004 | 78 minutes
Cameroon/France/Germany

Photography: Dieter Stürmer and Jean-Marie Teno
Editing: Christiane Badgley
Sound: Jean-Marie Teno and Paulin Tabou
Sound mix: Christophe Heral

Written and directed by Jean-Marie Teno
Produced by Jean-Marie Teno and Bärbel Mauch
A co-production of Les Films du Raphia, Bärbel Mauch Films and ZDF/ARTE

PAL all zones
French, English and German subtitles



The film is Afropolitanism at its best...continually makes provocative points.
Robert Gordon, University of Vermont

Teno has been making a series of eloquent documentaries about the African legacy of colonialism. In this most recent work, Teno tells the story of the devastation of a continent with wit, irony and historical passion.
Linda Williams, University of California-Berkeley

This documentary distinguishes itself by taking a definitive point of view. Challenging Europe's'amnesia' surrounding the colonial era, the film interrogates the complex relationship between Europe and Africa.
Le Nouvel Observateur
(Paris)


FESTIVALS / AWARDS / SCREENINGS

Fribourg Film Festival 2005
* Screening

FESPACO 2005
* Screening

IDFA 2004
* Screening

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