English summary of the German seminar:
Biographies of Resistance. The African Resistance Fighter Jacobus Morenga
This lecture deals with biographical approaches to the African resistance fighter Jacobus Morenga/Marengo, who was able to resist the hegemony of German colonial troops for several years during the Herero and Nama War in German South-West Africa (1904–1907). He was already considered a hero of resistance during his lifetime; myths surrounded him. Even his German enemies regarded him as a “gifted strategist,” indeed, a “black Napoleon.” This lecture will demonstrate, firstly, the possible, yet always problematic (re-)construction of the person and the myth of Morenga based on colonial sources, and will be supplemented by an analysis of rare visual footage (field postcards, a few photographs). The story of Morenga was taken up—and fictionally modified—in a novel by Uwe Timm, entitled Morenga (1978), as well as in a TV-adaptation of the novel by Egon Günther (WDR, 1985). The approaches to Morenga in both the novel and the movie will be analyzed as additional possibilities of a biographical approach. The interdisciplinary character of this lecture aims to draw attention to the fundamental problems of (post-)colonial life writing.