This magazine would probably not have occurred without my two youngest children. One could, if you like, call Alice and Melvin Afro-Europeans, because they have a dark-skinned Kenyan mother and I’m a fair-skinned German. Even Alice and Melvin – whose mother I did not know when Melvin was born – have German citizenship. In the first instance, this is practical, because no other nation enjoys as much freedom to travel as German citizens do. In addition to Germany’s exceptional educational systems, the national constitution is probably one of the best in the world. These are both luxuries that I greatly value. National affiliations in other respects are not that important to me. All over the world, I meet people who share my interests or with whom I can become inspired. I feel closer to such people than those who find my ideas meaningless – or perhaps don’t attempt to understand them.
So I’m creating this magazine for my children because I want them to continue to move freely around the world with the same self-assurance and inner security that they’ve travelled with thus far. They haven’t been treated differently yet because of their appearance or supposed origin. Sooner or later this day will come too, and then I want them to be capable of defending themselves with purposeful words and sound arguments. They ought to be able to counter the stereotypes and prejudices about the African continent – Europeans are almost exclusively bombarded with news of war, disease, corruption and disasters – with positive facts. They ought also to be well-informed and able to tell their classmates and our neighbours about the beauties of Africa, including the surprising social cohesion and diverse and abundant culture.
As a result, I search, collect and publish pictures and role models from another view of Africa. My intention is not to ignore the grievances, but alongside these, to present a less common view of Africa, one that fascinates, surprises and renders hope. Another wish I associate with the magazine is that it will benefit our cross-cultural communications. If this leads to misunderstandings, we ought to remember that these are inevitable due to our different circumstances, experiences and values (culture). Such awareness and respectful interaction invite the opportunity to learn from each other and with each other.
I dedicate this magazine to my children and their classmates at the Rosa Parks Primary School in Berlin-Kreuzberg – and to all people, big and small, everywhere.