African Community Hamburg
Summary of Report for 2013
By Hon. Kenneth Gbandi
African Representative, Hamburg Senate Integration Council
& Spokesman of the African Consultative Forum (AFC) Hamburg
As an elected member of the Hamburg Senate Integration Advisory Council representing the Africa Region, as well as the Spokesman of the African Consultative Forum Hamburg, established by my Office after my election, I feel very humbled to give you this report as the year 2013 gets to its end. This end of the year report is, indeed, the completion of the first and the second quarter reports you had already received and read.
Let me begin by first congratulating the First Mayor (Erste Bürgermeister) of the City of Hamburg, Mr. Olaf Scholz, to have led a successful Hamburg delegation to the coalition negotiations with the CDU. I extend the same congratulation to another citizen of Hamburg, Madam Aydan Özoguz, who has been appointed as the new Minister of State for Integration Affairs (“Staatsministerin für Integration”). Knowing her background and experience, I am convinced that the integration politics in Germany would certainly take on a new dimension to improve upon the situation of the migrant community in Germany, most especially the Africans. My congratulation should doubtlessly embrace all the candidates from Hamburg of the various political parties who duly won their seats to become members of the Federal Parliament this year.
I take the utmost pride to extend, finally, a special and unique congratulation to Dr. Karamba Diaby born and bred on African soil and to Mr. Charles Huber, both people of African origin, who have just made the enviable history by becoming the first people of African descent to be elected as members of the German Federal Parliament. The African Community also rejoices that Madam Irene Appiah and Mr. Clement Klutse, two members of the African Community in Hamburg and active members of ACF, have been put on the lists of the two major political parties in Hamburg, namely the SPD and the CDU to play active role in communal politics. Eventually, both may be elected into Communal Parliaments. I should also not forget to render thanks to Mr. Elombo Bolayela, member of the Bremen Parliament, who has almost become the political mentor of the AFC and Africans, making himself available anytime we need him.
When the first and the second quarter reports were released by my Office earlier this year, some skeptics did claim that the African Community in Hamburg has practically not gained any tangible benefits from our activities. Those skeptics rather took the view that, on the contrary, the community’s fate has turned worse compared to the two previous years. These unusual claims offer me the chance to list below some of the things I have been able to do with active support of some members of the community, since I became part of the Integration Council:
Summary of our activities this year
· As one of the Representatives of the African Region in the Integration Council of the Hamburg Senate, I have taken part in over 90% of the debates in 2013. I have been also elected to preside the Committee on Anti-Discrimination and Intercultural Co-operation (AG IV „Antidiskriminierung/Interkulturelle Öffnung“).In this position I have made my contribution to update Hamburg’s Integration Concept in 2013 to the best of my ability.
· Following my election as one of the representatives for the African Region of the Integration Council, I immediately initiated the formation of a Think-Tank Group for the African Community named African Consultative Forum (ACF), structured on the pattern of the Ministries (Behörden) to cater for the needs of the African Community.
· We organized under the umbrella of the ACF, in cooperation with my Office, events and meetings with the Hamburg Police, The Agency for Labour in Hamburg(Agentur für Arbeit Hamburg), The Ministry of Interior and Sports, especially the Department of the Citizens‘ Central Office for naturalization (Einbürgerung),The Counseling Center for Intercultural Upbringing (Beratungsstelle „Interkulturelle Erziehung), The Co-ordinating Center for Further Training And Employment (Koordinierungsstelle Weiterbildung und Beschäftigung E.V.) etc.
· We held meetings with various political parties in Hamburg, especially the SPD, FDP, CDU and the Pirates Party.
· We held meeting with the District Assembly of Wandsbek (The Group AG Integration) and paid visit to the Local Assembly of the Steilshoop part of the City to introduce myself and the activities of ACF.
· We held meetings with Young Civil Servants in Leadership Positions across various ministries, at event organized by Türkische Gemeinde Hamburg (TGH).
· We carried out the publication of the “New Face of Africa” in Hamburg.
· We celebrated the Africa Day in Hamburg with lectures and symposia.
Has the African Community Hamburg Fared Better Than The Two Previous Years?
· The African Community as usually seen on TV or in the Newspapers is associated mainly with dancing and drumming. This we have worked very hard to offer another image of the community in Hamburg through such things as serious political, social and cultural debates.
· We have built synergies with the various Associations or Organizations which have allowed us to concretely define ourselves as a Community in Hamburg, resulting in serious and important partnerships.
· Two members of the African Community have been officially placed on the lists of the two main Political Parties namely, SPD and CDU for the upcoming communal elections. This is the result of our collective efforts and lobby undertaken through meetings held with the various Political Parties asking for equal opportunity to contribute in the political arena, either at the Federal, Hamburg or Communal Levels. Members of the community appearing on the list is a clear recognition and acceptance of the potentials of the African Community in Hamburg.
· A member of the African Community will soon join the Hamburg Police Force in February 2014. This is in response to calls made by Mr. Wolfgang Kopitzsch, Presiding Officer of the Police Force in Hamburg during one of our meetings with him. With this initiative we are sure many more Africans will certainly follow suit.
· The African Community in Hamburg and Mr. Elombo Bolayela, gave its immediate support to the candidature of Dr. Karamba Diaby, who has been elected since then as member of the German Federal Parliament. Dr. Diaby was in Hamburg on my invitation and that of ACE where he was honored with the Community Service Award, presented to him by Mr. Yarda Debaba, ACF Goodwill Ambassador, on behalf of the Community. Dr. Karamba Diaby glowingly thanked the African community in Hamburg for the wonderful support given him during his victory celebration speech.
· Others who also received the Community Award include former Social Affairs Senator, Dr. Dietrich Wersich for his positive disposition and support towards the African Community, Mr. Bahram Habib of the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Selbstständiger Migranten e.V.“ (ASM) in Hamburg, as well as Mr. Elombo Bolayela, member of the Bremen Parliament.
As 2013 comes to an end, I thank you all once again for giving me the privilege to serve Hamburg and the African Community. I could not have possibly done this alone. I am grateful for the support you have given to me and the ACF team, especially those of us in the Steering Committee: Mr. Clement Klutse, Miss Irene Appiah and Dr. Frank Kwaw Codjoe. Others are Dr. David Okeke, Dr. Bernard Doku and those who came later to reinforce our work, including Dr. Pina Kilgue, Madam Milicent Adjei, Madam Conny Nti and Alex Sipua.
My appreciations are also extended to Madam Eileen-Mary Posch Oduro, Mr. Eze Nosiri, Dr. Victor Nnjimah and those on the advisory Board; Madam Caroline Seigert-Kieni, Madam Ba Hawa Fofana, Mr. Marouane Snoussi, Dipl. Ing., Imam Mohamed Awal, Pastor Prince Ossai Okeke, Mr. Jude Ogunnaya and Mr. Anane Kakyire.
Hamburg is a city seemingly envied by many African Communities elsewhere in Germany. As a Community we are determined to move rapidly ahead. But let me say it clearly that we lay no claim to be monopolists of knowledge. We are open to criticisms and welcome constructive suggestions which could help the African Community to perform better and reach the highest aims and aspirations as possible for the Community in Hamburg.
On behalf of my Family, the Management and Staff of African Heritage Magazine Germany, African Heritage on Radio 96.0 FM and Afrika Outlook TV, and the respectable members of the African Consultative Forum, I wish every one of you a wonderful progress throughout 2014.
Hon. Kenneth Gbandi (Bsc, M.P.S)
African Representative, Hamburg Senate Integration Council
Spokesman of the African Consultative Forum (AFC) Hamburg