I have the task of speaking to you on the: Ghanaian Diaspora in
NRW, a federal state where according to the state office for statistics thus
(Landesstatischesamt), about 6.929 Ghanaian men and women live: in Aachen we have 350
Ghanaians; in Düsseldorf there are 1.319; Dortmund 652; Essen 512 and Cologne, where I
come from 493 just to mention a few.
Ladies and Gentlemen, when the name Ghana is mentioned, what immediately comes to one’s
mind is that it is the only country, which was able to get away with a point against the current
Football World Champions-Germany.
This morning we are dealing with a serious subject- Ghanaians in NRW.
One may ask how these people live here-the Federal State of North Rhine Westphalia. How
come that someone like me is seen of a sudden walking along the street of Ehrenfeld instead
teaching in Kumasi-Ghana, in Abeokuta-Nigeria or in Dakar-Senegal?
These people live here just like any other normal citizen, going about their normal business as
medical doctors, engineers, language teachers, IT experts, cleaners, warehouse workers or as
students. The Ghanaian living in NRW can said to be hard-working, punctual and in order.
Why are these people living in Germany and not in Ghana?
There are varying reasons for that: Thus- Be it political persecution, desire for more
knowledge, desire for better living conditions, the love for the family or just as a visitor.
How do these people live here in NRW?
Many of the Ghanaians have three or more work places in order to have a complete 8-Hour
job. During the day they move from one work place to the other and family life is only on the
weekends. They meet themselves during shopping at the Afro Shops, in the tram or at the On
Sundays the meet at their churches where sometimes ceremonies like Out dooring,
Dedication, wedding, memorial services apart from the normal church service take place. On
Saturdays there are also celebrations like funerals, birth days.
Problems these people face living here:
There are a lot of problems facing the Ghanaian, who lives in NRW.
- The Integration process into the German society is lengthy and difficult. He is
confronted with isolation; he is marginalized to the extent of being discriminated
against. He hardly gets work and seldom does he have contact with his German fellow
The nice next door neighbor can not understand that the man from Ghana would like
to listen music very loud at night, at the time when normally all people are asleep or
he himself does not understand why it does go the way he had imagined when he was
moving to Germany.
The problems are innumerable, the ideas he got on Germany have become unrealistic.
He came to realize that things were difficult just after his arrival in NRW-Germany.
The solution to such problems turned out to be long-lasting and very complicated. The
first generation of Ghanaians came without school certificates and therefore the
German language is a problem for him. A few of the second and third generation is
able to make it to Gymnasium. Many of the older generation are unemployed and
receive unemployment allowance (Hartz IV). Attempts are being made to get such
people back home for employment but these attempts are met with little success due to
In addition to the above he has problems with his own family back home. The family
back home expects from him constant financial support. There is misunderstanding
with his family members, when he returns on holiday. They no longer understand him
because Kofi Mensah they know has turned to be a different person by living in
Kofi Mensah tries to solve some of these problems on his own. He succeeds to solve a
lot of these problems but many remain unsolved.
One way to get himself integrated into the German society is to join one of the
associations like Ghana Union, or one of the tribal unions. Here he meets fellow
Ghanaians, who assist him to understand better the German culture including the
language. Members in this association make him feel at home in foreign land.
These associations are doing a lot, but they themselves need support from the public
sector. For example in the area of providing rooms to organize integration courses, to
provide home work assistance for their children attending school. These, they are
prepared to organize in collaboration with German teachers, parents etc. They are as
well prepared to organize lectures to educate their countrymen and women on German
school system and assist them in the administrative procedures.
These association leaders are volunteers and contribute immensely to mutual
understanding and to the reduction of prejudice.
In order to solve his problems Kofi Mensah goes to the Ghanaian church pastor, who
speaks his language. Here he discusses with him his problems hopes that God would
also be of assistance in finding a solution to his problems.
He attends African events where he can listen to his music from the homeland very
loud and at night just as in his home country.
What does he expect from his new home in NRW?
He is not satisfied with his situation and goes to the Father on earth with the request
for cooperation and participation to solve these problems.
This means he expects father NRW to provide integration programs that would enable
him live here permanently with his neighbors very well and harmoniously.
It may be that Kofi Mensah has brought some knowledge to Germany, but this
knowledge is not needed here.
He needs new orientation- and educational measures to ensure that he gets a chance in
the labor market.
He needs institutions like the “Aller Welt Haus” in Cologne as a point of contact,
where he can interact with interested Germans in order to know each other well, get
acquainted with the differences between each other so that both sides can get rid of
prejudices and have respect for each other.
He needs support so that he can take good care of his children’s education, an
educational system, which is very complicated and strange to him.
Through this these children would have a chance to undergo vocational training or
study so that hopefully they are spared the bitter way into a situation of
Kofi Mensah himself is ready, if there is no other way, to clean toilets to feed and
educate his family.
He wishes for his children better educational opportunities in this his new home.
He knows that the way back to Ghana is almost impossible. The condition there is
very poor and his village needs his financial support from Europe.
Therefore he continues to rely on the father NRW with the hope that he can live
happily here for sometime.
With great joy he got the news that NRW has entered into a Partnership with Ghana.
Partnership means to be there for each other.
Partnership means mutual cooperation and being at the same level.
Partnership means giving and taking, learning from each other with respect and
Partnership means to live together harmoniously adapting oneself without forgetting
one’s roots and background.
Another speaker would provide you with further information on the partnership.
I mentioned earlier on that the Ghanaian joins Ghanaian associations-such as Ghana Union
Dortmund in an attempt get a solution to his or her problem.
I would like at this juncture to elaborate a little bit on this: there is a saying that Unity is
strength. There is something uniting Ghanaians living abroad-thus we have a common goal.
Let us therefore with one accord speak with one voice not according the motto: each one for
himself and God for us all. The Germans put it this way: jeder kocht sein eigenes Suppchen.
This attitude would not bring us forward. Do not let our tribal background play an important
roll in our quest for unity in Germany neither should our religious beliefs be an important
factor in this our quest for unity here in Germany.
Feel proud to be a Ghanaian and identify yourself with the Ghana Union or Association to
lend your support for the promotion of the cause of Ghanaians in your various communities.
Let me use this opportunity to encourage you further to identify your selves with fellow
Africans in your communities.
We Africans in Cologne were able to put behind us our differences to form an Alliance we
call Bündnis 14 Afrika to contest the Integration Council Election-in German it’s known as
the “Integrationsrat Wahl” in May 2014 and by God’s grace we were able to win a seat in this
council something which has eluded fellow Africans who have previously contested
individually. It is therefore recommendable to go a step further and identify with fellow
Africans in your communities to pursue a common goal because in a democracy like what we
have in Germany the voice of many is first heard. This is a food for thought.