Confronting Germany’s colonial past: a tour through Berlin’s ‘African Quarter’

Photo by Lakshmi Sarah



By Lakshmi Sarah

Berlin’s Mohrenstraße has seen its share of protest in the past few years. Mohrenstraße’s name, rooted in the word “Moor” (said to originate from “dark” in Latin, or “stupid” in Greek) is considered by activists as not only to be derogatory and racist, but also a nod to Germany’s colonial past.

We caught up with Joshua Kwesi Aikins, a Ghanaian-German political scientist and activist, on a tour of Berlin’s “African Quarter,” as he wove stories of the past into the present. One country part of Germany’s colonial past was Namibia, where the first German concentration camps were erected. “We cannot really understand Auschwitz without also looking at what happened in Swakopmund,” says Aikins.

Additional reporting by Pacinthe Mattar.

KCRW Berlin Visiting Talent Lakshmi Sarah is a journalist participating in the Arthur F. Burns Fellow program.




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