Black History Month

Black (Hi)Story Month © GI Kigali

The month of February is known as Black History Month (BHM). This year, the Goethe-Institut Kigali is contributing to the global project for the first time.

It originates from the African diaspora of the USA by the Black historian Cater J. Woodson to celebrate the historical achievements of Black, African and Afro-Diasporic people all over the world. 1926 was when he initiated the first “Negro History Week” which became BHM in the 1960s. Back in the day the history of Black people was especially dominated by narratives that painted an unworthy and incomplete picture, from which racist images and culture arose.

So was the case in Germany which is why BHM was introduced by an initiative of Black people in Germany (ISD) and integrated into many festive calendars since the 1990s. Still, Black (hi)stories are rather unknown, unheard or silenced. In Germany schools rather teach about the British Empire than German colonial rule; slave trade rather than African resistance; European development through industrialization rather than the exploitation of Africa and its people that enabled the building of the Germany we see today.

We are not only a cultural institution that encourages intercultural dialogue and enables cultural involvement, but an institution at the intersection of Africa and the African Diaspora in Germany. This year we want to join the global project of BHM and use our capacities for the education and decolonization of our minds through making Black people’s (hi)stories visible and enabling an African dialogue across borders.

Stay tuned to learn about the connections between Black people and the holocaust, Racism and structural discrimination, German colonialism and Rwanda.

By Gloria Ssanyu Mukasa

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BHM Continues!

As we conclude our Black History Month series, we would like to draw attention to how essential it is to continue with making Black people‘s (hi)stories visible and raise awareness about their diversity.

The current events in Ukraine and at the border crossings worldwide show terrible images: Black people, Indigenous and People of Color are confronted with discrimination, racism and suppression even during the attempt to escape from a war. Skin color, nationality or citizenship determines who is allowed to cross a border and who is denied passage.

We also want to draw attention to the unevenly distributed media coverage: The wide spreed and deeply rooted mentality in Western journalism of normalizing tragedy in parts of the world such as the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Latin America is outrageous.

These are the reasons why it’s important to vocalize your feelings, your thoughts and your grief. We as an institution feel obliged to show solidarity, inform and raise awareness, which must be followed by actions.

Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
A quote from Rumi

One recommendation of ours:
The article “Wir Afrikaner müssen draußen bleiben” published in Zeit Online on 25th of February 2022.

Know how to inform yourself!


By Laura Pröfrock

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