Language: Arabic, French, German, with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Germany – Togo – France
Director: Jürgen Ellinghaus
Every year the War Cemetery Memorial of Wahala / Chra in Togo (West Africa) hosts the 11th November Remembrance Day Ceremony in memory of the First World War and of the African colonial soldiers who died here in August 1914. The first German surrender in WWI was signed in Togo, on the soil of the Reich’s cherished “model colony”, shortly after the Battle of Chra. It marked the end of German “Togoland”. But Wahala’s history and its name point to another painful past. Wahala / Chra: a place where the voice of the ancients resonates with present day pictures…
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Director Biography – Jürgen Ellinghaus
Jürgen Ellinghaus, born in West Germany, 1985-1997, freelance work and author/producer for German and French public radio companies. 1995-2004, documentary program manager for public and private TV companies in France and Germany. Since 2004, independent documentary filmmaker. Films: The Last Equation of Private Doeblin, 86′ / 53′, together with Hubert Ferry, 2005 / 2006 – Cross and Banner, 54′, 2010 – The Fire, a Fowl and an (Un)Forgotten Past, 13′, 2017 – A Place Called Wahala, 56′, 2021.
My film opens one of the many unknown chapters of Afro-European past and colonial history. There is an overlap of pictures from present-day life and testimonies more than a hundred years old, from a time when European colonial expansion was at its peak. Films with historical content are still exceptions in the documentary film production of Togo or other West African countries. Yet today, they meet with growing interest especially among younger people, in a context where oral transmission of historical events is loosing its traditional place in African societies.