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Prince Dido of Didotown and ‘Human Zoos’ in Wilhelmine Germany: Strategies for Self-Representation under the Othering Gaze

Prince Dido of Didotown and ‘Human Zoos’ in Wilhelmine Germany: Strategies for Self-Representation under the Othering Gaze

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter 2 Prince Dido of Didotown and ‘Human Zoos’ in Wilhelmine Germany: Strategies for Self-Representation under the Othering Gaze
Source:
Africa in Europe
Author(s):
Albert Gouaffo
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846318474.003.0002

The chapter provides an account of the visit of Prince Samson Dido, a member of the Cameroonian native elite, to Germany in 1886. The visit took place shortly after Cameroon had become a German colony, and the reactions of contemporary Germans to the visit and to Dido display some ambivalence, in which a degree of readiness to accept him as a (business) partner and person of substance combines with emerging racist stereotypes of the African. Characterising Dido as a colonial middleman or ‘mimic-man’ and situating his visit in the context of the ethnographic shows (or ‘human zoos’) that were popular in the period, the chapter nevertheless seeks to identify elements of self-presentation and self-shaping in newspaper reports and photographs of his presence.

Keywords:   mimicry, German, colonialism, human zoos, photography, Cameroonian, Samson Dido

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