8.–18.6.2023 in Düsseldorf, Cologne and Mülheim an der Ruhr

Absent.e pour le moment

Street names form a collective history. Cédric Djedje and Safi Martin Yé report on the 40-year struggle to re-name three streets in Berlin’s “African Quarter”. Video interviews with activists, stories of historic events and personal experiences coalesce into a clear political message.

15.06., 18:30–20:10 Schedule

no tickets available at the moment

16.06., 18:30–20:10 Ticket Schedule 17.06., 18:30–20:10 Schedule

no tickets available at the moment

FFT Düsseldorf
Language: French with German and English surtitles

15.6. after the show: Exchange of experiences in English with the artists and activists of the Arbeitskreis Düsseldorf postkolonial. Chaired by Wilma Renfordt, Impulse Theater Festival

© Dorothée Thébert Filliger
© Dorothée Thébert Filliger
© Dorothée Thébert Filliger

The “African Quarter” was not so called to honour its African residents, but because it was where the German dream of becoming a major colonial power manifested itself in 25 street names. Here you will find Kameruner Straße and Togostraße – and until 2022 there were also three streets named after the founders of German colonies. Activists fought for decades to have them renamed after African resistance leaders.

Djedje and Yé talk on a video link to activists who tell them about the colonisers and about Cornelius Fredericks and the Manga Bell family, after whom two of the streets are now named. Djedje, who is himself French with Ivorian roots, describes his research in Berlin, dancing in its clubs and an online date who only wants to meet him because he is Black. To him, Berlin seems like a mirror, holding his Blackness up in front of his eyes.

“Berlin is a city of selective memory,” one activist in the video says. There are no monuments to remind us of German colonial crimes and the resistance to them. African reality is ignored. ‘Maybe’ confidently puts it on stage.

“One can only be impressed by this committed production, which is very well researched and constructed. A strong and political performance that avoids blame – except for those who were truly guilty – enabling us to think so much more deeply about the problems it deals with.”
Fabien Imhof, La Pépinière, 3.11.2022


This project was made possible by all the activists who contributed to its research phase and who shared their knowledge, their experiences and their dreams.
Direction: Absent.e pour le moment
Concept: Cédric Djedje
Performers: Cédric Djedje, Safi Martin Yé
Dramaturgy: Noémi Michel
Outside Eyes: Diane Muller, Ludovic Chazaud
Writers: Ludovic Chazaud, Noémi Michel
Stage Design: Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro, Consultant: Marco Ievoli
Stage Construction: Atelier construction Vidy
Choreography: Ivan Larson
Sound Design, Composition: Ka(ra)mi
Costume Design, Kanga Maker: Tara Mabiala
Costume Maker: Eva Michel
Graphic Design: Claudia Ndebele
Lighting Design: Léo Garcia, Consultant: Joana Oliveira
Video: Valeria Stucki
Transcriptions: Eva Michel, Bel Kerkhoff-Parnell, Orfeo, Janyce Djedje
Production Manager: Lionel Perrinjaquet, Tutu Production


A production by Absent.e pour le moment, Le Grütli – Centre de production et de diffusion des Arts Vivants, Lausanne and Théâtre Vidy Lausanne. With funding from the Swiss Cultural Foundation Pro Helvetia, the State of Geneva, Loterie Romande, the City of Geneva’s Agenda21, the Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Fondation Leenaards, the Porosus Endowment Fund, the Schweizerische Interpretenstiftung SIS, the SSA – Société Suisse des Auteurs, the Jan Michalski Foundation, the Migros Cultural Percentage and the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.


The company Absent.e pour le moment was founded in Geneva in 2020 by Cédric Djedje (actor and creator of projects living between Geneva and Berlin). Its approach is based on the collective creation of multidisciplinary performances. The artists seek to question and experiment with different ways of creating a community from the perspective of black and postcolonial critical theories. The company aims to denaturalize the political relations and expose the power relations that underlie the construction of historical narratives in postcolonial European spaces. Through its use of field investigations, it seeks to examine the repercussions of the colonial moment on what we consider to be our daily life, on what often surrounds us unchallenged and yet shapes our individual and collective identities. Their method is conceived as a play machine that combines stage writing, dance and performance with critical academic disciplines. Absent.e pour le moment creates a political and playful art in which the desire to move on becomes irresistible: a political art that looks for movements in which the joy of minoritized peoples and their ability to be seen create spaces for acting and words that offer temporary refuge – not only for minoritized peoples but for everyone.