Your questions – Our answers

In August, we asked our supporters to give us honest feedback on our work as part of a digital donor survey. We wanted to know whether you are really interested in the information you receive from us, what you find particularly good about our work and where we need to improve. We see the many positive responses as confirmation of our projects in Burkina Faso and it makes us proud that we have been able to achieve all this with the support of so many people. However, it is just as important for us to take criticism and suggestions seriously, which is why we would like to answer the three most frequently asked questions here.


How does the political situation in Burkina Faso affect the Operndorf Afrika?

Burkina Faso is politically unstable. After several coups in the country and its immediate neighbors, the increasing threat of terrorism and the intensifying conflicts over food supplies due to the noticeable climate change, the entire Sahel region is in an uncertain and difficult to understand development. This is also reported in the local news, but the conflicts are usually viewed from a very conservative point of view and important aspects, such as the newly emerging emancipation approaches of African states from Western partners, receive little attention. The alliance between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in particular has been examined in the media in all its facets – but not from a West African perspective. But the world is not black and white. When possible anti-Western efforts also began in Burkina Faso, this was a constant topic of our weekly digital team meetings. We wanted to talk about this as honestly as possible with our Burkinabe colleagues and were able to do so via a familiar level of communication that has built up over the years. Due to the close cooperation in a team on two continents, postcolonial discourses are, if you like, “the order of the day” for us. Localizing our own position in this context, questioning it in our work and developing all projects in direct exchange is only the beginning of being able to attribute the same validity to other perspectives and understand conflicts in the first place. The Operndorf provides us with a unique venue that enables intensive cooperation on an international level, opens up spaces for thought and encourages action. And that is why the project is all the more important at a time of major geopolitical upheaval in the world, when nationalist movements are regaining strength and the need for shared responsibility for this planet is growing.



How is the project progressing?

The Operndorf Afrika was developed as a utopian concept and was constantly adapted to the location and the needs of the people during its development. During its development, there were differences between expectations and realities, between Burkina Faso and Germany. The place has continuously “recharged” itself and now consists of different components that are all interwoven. And this is the great strength of our project, because it brings art together with education and health and in this way also consolidates trust in the population at various levels. As a “social sculpture” and an integral part of Burkina Faso, the Operndorf Afrika is not just (another) international development cooperation project. The development of the Operndorf Afrika is progressive in itself.

Where is the Festspielhaus?

For Christoph Schlingensief, the significance of art and its anchoring in everyday life was an important focus of his artistic thinking. For Operndorf Afrika, art is therefore an integral part of our projects. Today, there are various forms of stage in the Opera Village – both temporary and permanent. Nevertheless, the construction of a festival theater is of course still an issue for us. Due to the current political situation in Burkina Faso, however, we are asking ourselves about the responsibility of a possible realization. Christoph Schlingensief transformed the idea of building an opera house into the idea of an opera village when there was a terrible flood in Burkina Faso. Now there are other realities in Burkina Faso that we in the team, but especially our Burkinabe colleagues, have to face. We do not want to leave them in the lurch and continue to use all our resources to consolidate the project structure we have created so that the opera village is secured for the population in the long term. The art and the “opera” are already taking place there and as long as this is the case: “Our opera is a village!”


Fotos: © Abrie Fourie, Jonas Yameogo



We always say that we could not achieve anything without your donations, and we mean it! In view of the difficult situation in Burkina Faso, every Euro counts to secure and expand the Operndorf Afrika.