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Multicultural Berliners Celebrate Colorful Africa Day


Berlin, Germany – To mark Africa Day, UPF-Berlin partnered with a local NGO, Bagandou eV, to host a lively event in the Reinickendorf borough of Berlin on June 1, 2024. The event, themed “Integration and Cultural Encounters,” was the initiative of Mr. Bernd Flieger of UPF-Berlin, Pastor Lolowengo Botembe, an ambassador for peace, and Mr. Mathias Monzebe, founder of Bagandou eV.


Pastor Botembe and Mr. Flieger greeted the eighty guests before handing the program over to Ms. Rachel Nangally, who moderated the event. The first speaker was Mr. Jaques Marion, co-chair of UPF- Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Marion, who lives in France, was born in Africa and spoke of his several years’ experience working there. He mentioned UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s support for Africa, her emphasis on the development of heart, and appreciation for the spirituality of the African people. He also stressed love of family and love of peace, which are universal values shared throughout Africa.


The next speaker was Mr. Uwe Brockhausen, who expressed his delight that this first Africa Day was being held in the district of Reinickendorf, where he is now deputy mayor. He expressed the hope that his district could partner with a city in Africa, and said the way to achieve this was to start with partnerships between schools, associations or companies.


Next, Mr.  Monzebe explained how Bagandou eV supports the small rural community of Bagandou in  southwestern Central African Republic. In his power point presentation, he showed the organization’s concrete impact on the living conditions of the people by providing clean water, schooling for children, and income-generating opportunities for adults, men and women alike.


After a break, representatives of other associations that are active in Africa or contributing to the integration of African people in Germany and Europe, introduced themselves. Ms. Rachel Nangally, founder of the association Sources-d’Espoir (Source of Hope), spoke of the need for cultural encounters such as this Africa Day to break down prejudices and foster good relationships between Africans and Europeans.


“Integration, Anti-discrimination and the Upcoming European Elections” was the title of the presentation given by Mr. Aziz Lamere, founder of Narud eV. Citing examples from the work of his association, he pointed out the need to uncover, condemn, and prosecute racial discrimination, and stressed the importance of the upcoming European elections for the relationship between the European Union and Africa. He called on all migrants entitled to do so, to cast their vote.


Members of the Love-Peace-Harmony Association presented its projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which include the construction of village wells. They sang in Lingala, a language of the DPRC, a peace song that has been translated into more than 20 languages. 

    

The atmosphere of the event was magnificent, the room pleasant and bright, and all the speakers were enthusiastically received. After the presentations, everyone enjoyed African and German snacks and various drinks. One highlight was the three musicians, who played as a trio and individually, and got everyone moving. Mr. Christian Bakotessa on the guitar moved the hearts of the guests, who sang along with some of the songs and danced to others. And he could yodel too!


Then when Mr. Macamo and Mr. Carlos Cruz beat out African rhythms on their drums, nobody could stay seated. The applause was thunderous!



By Sigrun Botembe, UPF-Germany June 1, 2024

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