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Afrikanisches Viertel: a Piece of Africa in Berlin

The Fight of African Berliner Immigrants to Be Accepted and Recognized

April 14th, 2016

Wandering in Berlin, you may happen to see Afrikanische Straße, the African street still named in celebration of the former German colonial empire. In this neighborhood it is also possible to take a few steps in Togo Straße or Cameroon Straße, named by the Nazis in 1939 to revive the nationalist memory of the Empire. The intention of its construction was primarily as a memory of the colonial dream of Germany. One of the streets still bears the name of the colonial criminal Carl Peters.

Many associations like Berlin Postkolonial find it shocking to keep this souvenir of the colonial past of Germany, however the names have never been removed. This shows the problems of integration of the African immigrants in Berlin and Germany's denial of having ever encouraged colonialism.

For instance, Abdel Amine Mohammed, an inhabitant of Berlin and activist in an anti-colonial association, explains that Germans, ranging from left as well as the right to recognize that Germany needs immigrants to work because the current workers are getting old. However, even if those immigrants have been living in Germany, they cannot vote, the possibility to have double nationality does not even exist and racial profiling is still reportedly common.

Yonas Endrias, a Senate representative, explains that things do not move very fast in Germany and even less for immigrants. For example, immigrants are needed in the sector of new technologies, but in Germany residence permits or the right of family reunion practically do not exist, so experts go to countries where their status can be recognized easier. However, some improvements have to be taken into account such as the recognition of foreign diplomas to enable foreigners to work in Germany.

Mr. Endrias insists in saying that although Germany was always a land of immigration, there are not many African people in Berlin (consist of only about 2% of the total population). Most of them live in Wedding, the former French occupied zone but they are not enough people and they are not visible enough to become a real community. For instance, one would just need watch the German TV to realize how under-represented the people with an African background are.



News from Berlin
Julie Essertel, Berlin Global