Pan Africanism : AFRO GERMANS: SHOWING THEIR COLORS...

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Isaiah, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Afro-German: the name might not be familiar to many. Coming to terms with their German and African heritage has taken some time, but now Afro-Germans are carving out their own space in Berlin.



    By Crystal Orderson, Berlin



    Afro-German Catherina Oguntoye has just given birth to her first child, but she has a certain calmness about her. She seems relieved to take a break from breast-feeding. "I was born in the former East Germany to a German mother and Nigerian father," Oguntoye says in her apartment in Kreuzberg, a neighbourhood of Berlin. She spent her early childhood in West Germany and later spent a few years in Nigeria. "Derogatory names -like mulatto, negro or war baby -and racist harassment were often experiences I had to endure."

    While growing up in Germany, she found that there was a lack of Afro-German literature. During her university studies, she met African-American writer Audre Lorde, who set her on the path to find her identity. With Lorde's inspiration and fellow Afro-German May Opitzsto to assist her, the term Afro-German as well as her book, "Showing our Colours: Afro-German Women Speak Out," were born. The book narrates personal stories of several Afro-German women in East and West Germany from the turn of the century.

    "Our own history"

    "It was a wonderful experience meeting all these amazing women and listening to their stories," Oguntoye says. "It was about searching for our history and finally of going public and to expose the social underpinning of racism. We could now identify with concepts such as pride and assertiveness with dignity." The book received acclaim in black and African communities in the North American and West European diaspora. "People from all over Germany responded to the publication," she says. Many have felt that the book raised the awareness and situation of Afro-Germans in Germany. These initiatives and outspoken views were an important milestone for many Afro-Germans.

    In the book, Oguntoye writes: "By the term Afro-German our point is to emphasise that we have a black and white parent. Our essential commonality is that we are black and have experienced a major part of our socialisation and life in confrontation with West German society -a society that is not 99 percent white but that always has behaved as though it were, or should be."

    A special home for many

    On the wave of excitement following the book's publication in 1986, the organisation Initiative Schwarze Deutche (ISD), or Initiative Afro-Germans in Berlin, was born.

    "Although there were meetings held all over Germany, Berlin had one of the biggest turnouts," Oguntoye says. Recalling the first meeting, she says the atmosphere in the room was like electricity. "For some, it was the first time that they saw other Afro-Germans in their lives.

    They related different stories of their experiences, about how they were told that they don't belong in Germany. At last, there was a feeling that 'we' were not as different or strange as some made us out to be. But not everybody was all that excited," she adds. One participant described herself as "a nothing." With regret and sadness, Oguntoye says this women's unhealthy psychological state is often the remnant of growing up in a white German environment.

    Since the first meetings, the ISD has grown in size, with many branches all over Germany. African-American inspired activities are now common features in the ISD's calendar of activities.




    FOR MORE ON THIS STORY, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO...

    http://www.djh.dk/euroviews/text/orderson.html



    pEACE!
    ISAIAH
     
  2. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    It is nice to see brothers and sisters uniting.
     
  3. PurpleMoons

    PurpleMoons Administrator STAFF

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    I wondered, were there Africans people living in Germany/Russia. Were they natives? The Original people.

    On the idiot box, I never once saw a Black person in Russia/Germany, unless they was in the service. This article says alot. It brings much awareness to the Brother and Sisters in Germany. I'm looking forward to reading more of Afro-German families.

    This is a very enlightening post and I give Sistah Catherina Oguntoye much props, for her courage and determination to bring forth a hidden truth.

    Thank you Brother Isaiah for keeping us aware!
     
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