Kinshasa, Congo, Democratic Republic Of The (zaire) 19 Feb 2015
The Goethe-Institut returns to the Democratic Republic of Congo: German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the DRC’s Minister of Cultural Affairs Baudouin Banza Mukalay inaugurated the new liaison office of the German cultural institute in Kinshasa on 19 February.
Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said on the occasion of the opening: “With its new liaison office in Kinshasa, the Goethe-Institut visibly marks the importance of expanding social and cultural relations between Germany and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC is a key country within the Sub-Sahara Africa region with enormous potential. It is therefore crucial to increasingly seek a cultural exchange that goes beyond political and economic relations. Foreign cultural and education policy facilitates exactly that: the establishment of civil society structures, cultural participation and mutual understanding and appreciation.”
The Minister of Arts & Culture of the DRC Baudouin Banza Mukalay described the return of the Goethe-Institut to Kinshasa as a good sign for the cultural cooperation between Germany and the DRC.
Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the president of the Goethe-Institut, elaborated: „We have always maintained contact with artists and cultural players for specific projects after we closed down 24 years ago. Established frameworks however – such as the new liaison office in Kinshasa – offer much better opportunities for cultural partnerships. Kinshasa is a vibrant and exciting city from an artistic perspective, opening up many links for cooperation. Fostering international as well as pan-African exchange will be enriching for all of us. The time is right!”
The Goethe-Institut was forced to cease its work in the DRC in 1991 due to political upheavals. The reopened office in Kinshasa is located at the premises of the Institut Français, and regular cooperation is intended. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann said: „The liaison office in Kinshasa is also an indication of the strong friendship between Germany and France.”
There are currently 12 Goethe-Institutes in Sub-Saharan Africa and two liaison offices. Kinshasa is the first of two planned inaugurations in 2015: The Goethe-Centre in Windhoek, Namibia will be upgraded into a Goethe-Institut in the course of this year.