My time in Munich was very insightful. I went with the expectation of discovering how their youth work infrastructures are set up in regards to African Diaspora organisations. I soon realised their youth work structure is in its infant stage and is confined under immigration work.
This posed the question do they only see people from the African diaspora as immigrants no matter how long they've resided there or even if they were born there.
It was interesting to see the dynamics of this play out in the community and what work is taking place.
The One World Center is a great base of operations. Although it's not specifically set up for the purpose of African diaspora organisations it felt very welcoming and housed people with open minds willing to embrace different cultures.
This was also the location myself and Business partner Angeli Sweeney delivered our workshop based on social media & young people. This was very well received and based on the feedback we've now extended this workshop to a full days training.
Something which I found evident amongst the vast majority of presentations delivered was that African Diaspora organisations don't really have a safe space exclusively for us.
It was interesting as I was paired with a white female during an exercise and we discussed this at length. After the conversation, she agreed and understood the purpose of black safe spaces. I felt a sense of accomplishment in being able to articulate my points across to her without it coming across as though I was having a debate with her.
I returned from this trip with a refreshed mind state in regards to how I initially perceived things to be in Munich.
LORA Radio – Afro Youth
Time is against us and because we are full of excitement at the idea of visiting a radio studio we carefully dodge the traffic between the cars and the lorry to get to the other side of the road. There we meet Jounas and Emnet – two young black Germans who host a monthly pan-african programme called Afro Youth Munich on LORA radio. The two studios are very well equipped and it’s hard to believe that over 250 people use the facilities where they discuss everything from current affairs, local, regional and national political and social issues.
After the introductions, I get a minute to speak to Jounas who tells me that he is currently at University studying sociology, and explains that as a young black person in Germany the importance of having space where you can speak to others who share similar experiences. Behind his bubbly exterior and constant smile, he says that many of the things that happen to the young people are not spoken about, which is why he is determined to use the medium of the radio to start the process of change, with the hope that it snowballs to eventually create a chain of self-empowerment and community support.
The value he places on youth work and peer-to-peer support is evident, and having participated in a conference with a large group of German-speaking black youth from Berlin and Vienna he is determined to do his bit to create safe spaces for engagement and empowerment. He wants black youth in Germany to have positive experiences and one of the things Afro Youth programme focusses on is identity – a topic which he believes to be of incredible importance.
There are challenges in trying to get space, co-ordinate time and expend energy to share experiences and offer support, but at LORA radio they manage to reach between 2000 to 4000 people who tune in to the range of programmes.
It is evident that Jounas is passionate about what he does. He says that black youth are on a powerful journey and that “the most profound and beautiful thing is finding out who I am and seeing my own personal growth”.
We then witness a programme being broadcast live and the interactions between the host and the callers are amazing to watch. After a few obligatory selfies and group photos, we slowly stroll back across the road where there is no hint that a few hours ago it was heaving with traffic.