The Ghosts Are Returning

Part of “CTM 2023 – Portals”


French / Kibudu / Lingala / With German surtitles / With English surtitles / Swahili / approx. 120 mins.

Photograph of six people standing side by side in a relaxed pose looking at the camera, they are on a plateau with the Congo jungle stretching behind them.

GROUP50:50, a collective of artists from Congo, Switzerland, and Germany that explore the historical and current economic and political interconnections between their countries, will present “The Ghosts Are Returning,” a post-documentary music performance about seven pygmy skeletons brought to Geneva from Congo by a Swiss doctor in the 1950s. Unlike many African skeletons languishing in the archives of European museums, the names, approximate origins, dates, and causes of death of these seven are known, and their descendants can be found within the nomadic Mbuti people of the forests of the Congo. But do these descendants want the skeletons and spirits of their ancestors back? Because what is rarely considered in the debate about restitution is that returning masks, skulls, and skeletons also bring back the spirits that the Europeans stole and locked away during the colonial era. Together with the Mbuti, GROUP50:50 have developed a funeral ritual for the seven spirits – taking inspiration from traditional Congolese music, the funeral ceremonies and polyphonic chants of the Mbuti, and laments in the classical music tradition – in the hope that they will find peace. 


Directors: Christiana Tabaro, Eva-Maria Bertschy, Michael Disanka, Elia Rediger / Composition and Music Direction: Kojack Kossakamvwe, Elia Rediger / Text: Christiana Tabaro, Eva-Maria Bertschy, Michael Disanka, Patrick Mudekereza, Ruth Kemna, Elia Rediger / Dramaturgy and Discourse: Eva-Maria Bertschy, Patrick Mudekereza / Stage Design: Elia Rediger, Christiana Tabaro, Michael Disanka, Janine Werthmann / Assistant to Directors: Luca Maier / Technical Director: Sylvain Faye / Video: Moritz von Dungern, Joseph Kasau, Franck Moka, Elia Rediger / Sound Design: Philipp Ruoff / Technical Assistant: Anton Pelzer / Sound and Video Mixing: Daniel Freitag / Video Mixing Direction: Beltrán González / Press and Social Media: Fellow Publishing (Johannes Fellmann, Leonie Soltys) / Podcast: Denise Maheho, Franck Moka, Luca Maier / Research Assistants: Abé Jean de Dieu Aybeka, Benjamin Imply Ababa, Julienne Nambinomutu Tatu, Jacques Anzakpangezo / Surtitles and translation: Souzy Boukanayo, Julien Couturier, Julie Guigonis, Katia Flouest-Sell / Production Managers: Pamina Rottok, Nicole Lengenberg und Véronique Poverello / Production Assistant: Maria Pelzer / Artistic Director PODIUM Esslingen: Joosten Ellée / Performance: Ruth Kemna (Viola und Schauspiel), Christiana Tabaro (Stimme und Schauspiel), Huguette Tolinga (Perkussion), Kojack Kossakamwve (Gitarre), Franck Moka (Elektronik und Schauspiel), Merveil Mukadi (Bass), Elia Rediger (Stimme und Schauspiel) / Performance videos: Josée Agbepa, Jean de Dieu Bongama, Jean-Baptiste Ekaka, Mama Sese, Mukombozi, Anselm Ngobe, Tristan Köster (Cello), William V. Murray (Viola), Per Hakon Oftedal (Trompete), Josefine Schmidt (elektrisches Klavier), Maxine Troglauer (Bassposaune) / Costume (HAU): Aleix Llussà Lòpez


  • Past
    Fri 3.2.2023, 19:00 / HAU1
    Sat 4.2.2023, 19:00 / HAU1

The performance is preceded by an afternoon of discussions and talks at HAU2.


A project by: PODIUM Esslingen, GROUP50:50, Centre d’Art Waza Lubumbashi. Co-production: CTM Festival Berlin, euro-scene Leipzig, Kaserne Basel, Vorarlberger Landestheater. Funded by: Fonds TURN2 of the Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Supported by: Fachausschuss Tanz & Theater BS/BL, Pro Helvetia.


Stresemannstr. 29, 10963 Berlin

There are two marked parking spots in front of the building. Access to the Parkett by means of a separate entrance with lift when necessary. Barrier-free restroom facilities are available. Wheelchair users are kindly requested to register their attendance at least one day before the performance. Thank you for your understanding. If you need help, please contact our Ticketing & Service team at +49 (0)30 259004-27 or send us an email to

HAU3000 / Positions, Projects, Publications

The Glowing Room

Text by Hendrik Otremba.

An Introduction to “Collectivize Facebook”

By Jonas Staal

“Collectivize Facebook” is a lawsuit aimed to turn Facebook into public property, initiated by artist Jonas Staal and lawyer Jan Fermon. Read here Staal’s introduction to the project.

“Manifestos for Queer Futures”

Video Documentation

As part of the festival “The Present Is Not Enough – Performing Queer Histories and Futures”, HAU initiated an open call for artists based in Berlin, who were invited to submit proposals for their Manifestos for Queer Futures.