Every 25th and 26th May of the year is the celebration of African Day to mark the hard earned achievement of the continent freedom from the European colonial powers some 50 years ago..
The event supposedly is an occasion when Africans at home and in Diaspora are expected to come together as one people to reminiscence on the past and to forge a way forward in unity, peace and harmony.
As most cities of the world gathered to celebrate this year event, HamburgCity was not left out. As a reporter, I set out and was ready to witness the event first hand. The weather was depressively moody with mild raining threatening the first day.
Before I got around by 3 pm, the place was half filled with people, few guests were seen chatting and here and there, Handful of such were guest speakers, musicians and tradition attire dancers displaying shows one after the other. As an African coming to African Day event my expectation was high especially with the notion the event was to be a colourful display of all Africans marking the event.
But just on arrival into the scene, my expectation was quickly crashed. What I witnessed was seemingly a one sided event with majority of those involved in participation being Ghanaians, to the extent the only national flag hoisted up was that of the Ghana.
As I grappled to understand the correlation of what’s on the ground and the concept "African day", A young man by name KOFI quickly approached me to know if the occasion was indeed a Ghana day event or African Day" according to the young lad he was told it was to be an African Day event but was surprised as every pointer shows otherwise, hence he decided to ask questions.
After about 2 hrs on the scene, I took some pictures and asked some questions. To my greatest amazement many people were equally worried that the event depicted rather a one country event unlike an African day occasion.
Then as the downpours continues, I was tired and was getting ready to retire for the day when it suddenly down on me that I had not finished what I set out to do for the day. I almost forgotten there was another African Day going on somewhere as far as Farmsen area of Hamburg, As I recovered from my slumber I set out again to about 25mins drive to witness the other show the other side.
On my way to farmsen, I met two elders from African Community casually whiling away time, one a Ghana and the other a Nigeria, When I tried to inquire why they were not part of the event almost simultaneously they told me "We are getting old now and cannot afford to attend the two event at the same day" and their next question was "why didn’t these two people representing African community come together" and celebrate this event in the name of all Africans. Why the division?
The two elders went further to say Africans in Germany lack unity of purpose. According to them the beauty of this day should have been that all African came today with the 2 members at the Integration Council super heading the event. That way they said would have unite and bring us together than dividing us.
In Farmsen, they atmosphere was more of Award Winning night than African Day with lined-up speakers taking their turn to make comments. It was an indoor event unless you are invited you wouldn’t get to know such an occasion is going on in the building. In short while, I was already tired my colleague from Topafric team took some pictures and after 45mins I headed home.
My observation was not quite different from other spectators, In "Wansbeck Mart" I took the task upon me to count the people there and it was about 120 people, while in Farmsen it was about 80 people in attendance as at the time I left the hall.
Combining the total number of people in both venues of African Day event, any discerning mind would have asked why the event was divided into two places when under normal circumstances they are fit to be celebrated under one umbrella with a clear mission to showcase the much need unity amongst Africans.
At the end, this year African Day event raises up more questions than it answered. According to one of the observes its high time both Kenneth Ghandi and Sylvania Gerlich come together to resolve whatever is their differences, to enable them move Africans community forward to a direction that will change the already mangled image of a people classified as a disoriented lots by other communities.
This article necessitates on the very fact that African Day is a project of the people and not any individual country event hence their representation at the Hamburg Integration Council. So far, we thank both of them for their effort but hopeful expect a much better encompassed organised African Day next year.
I rest my case.
Adams, Kennedy Chidi