Kreuzberg. Photo: © Pixabay
Today, I feel German: A reminder of sorts, for all the days I don’t Knees bend, eyelids and bodies fold, flower petals cave in curious anticipation of the unknown. Every day, we fold and bend and cave towards what we know in fear of what we don’t. Why? TEXT: HENRY LYONGA NJIMAPIE
Before I proceed, you should know that I am black and only a first-generation immigrant. Therefore, it is not completely lost on me that my feelings on this subject of identity will be met with resistance, disagreeing opinions and questions, all of which may emerge because “Today, I feel German” will be considered by many an atypical declaration. These are not feelings I am allowed to claim ownership of, because possessing such can easily be mistaken for the denouncement of one’s very own traditions and heritage. 62 | Issue 75 | June 2019
I am a first-generation immigrant from Cameroon who moved to Germany some 12 years ago. Learned the language, went to high-school then university, is considered integrated, assimilated, but I cannot publish a poetry book without state permission. On one-hand, I am expected to adopt, to become, to move away fully from who I was to be acknowledged and awarded social capital in the face of the nation but still, to many, I must justify my voice, my rights, my place in the nation because I am different by design.
But in the name of the love and family we share, I would like to say this out loud: Today, I feel German! Do not be alarmed, my words are not of menacing character, they were not uttered in denial of my true self and heritage, nor were they said to cause you to question your God-given nationalist identity. They were uttered to serve a specific purpose. The purpose of liberation. Freedom, to those whose very existence ignites heated national and international conversations on their legitimacy to share in the bounty of a Nation’s stake, with every wave of immigrant influx. It was said myself and to my friends who share in the same experiences of being black and a minority in a sea of vastly homogenised people. It was said to remind myself that I am home
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