Resistance: Three Generations anticolonial Protest in Camerun, 2019
Manga Bell and His Anti-Colonial Petition
German colonisation of what is now Cameroon began on the eve of the Berlin Conference of 1884/1885 in the coastal town of Duala. There, in July 1884, local kings signed a so-called “protection treaty” with German representatives, which laid the foundation for the successive annexation of further territories by the German Empire. This treaty did not actually provide for expropriations, forced labour or arbitrary arrests of the local population. However, when this increasingly occurred and resettlement plans according to racist criteria became known in Duala, the young King Rudolf Duala Manga Bell rose up against the colonial administration. Together with other Cameroonian kings, he sent an extensive petition to the German Reichstag in 1912. Since this and other resistance actions were initially ineffective, Manga Bell sent his secretary Ngoso Din to Berlin to inform political actors there about the grievances in the colony and to mobilise them. Instead of responding to the demands of Manga Bell and his partners, the colonial authorities convicted him of ‘high treason’ in 1914 and had him hanged together with Ngoso Din on August 9th.
To ensure that the story of the resistance fighter Rudolf Duala Manga Bell against German colonial rule is not forgotten, the Association Initiative Perspektivwechsel e.V. and the Cameroonian cartoonist Franky Mindja (born 1994 in Yaoundé, Cameroon / lives and works in Yaoundé, Cameroon) captured it as a comic in 2019. The Berlin-based association Initiative Perspektivwechsel did extensive historical research and wrote the script for the comic. The cartoonist Mindja translated the text into drawings and gives this traumatic and at the same time heroic chapter of Cameroonian history its own interpretation with his drawings. The drawings exhibited here on the fate of Manga Bell show one of three stories presented in the comic book Resistance: Three Generations of Anti-Colonial Protest in Cameroon.
Foto: © Franky Mindja