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Von uns, für uns: Ein kollektives Selbstporträt
Daima. Images of Women of Colour in Germany ist eine Sammlung ausgewählter Schwarz-Weiß-Portraits mehrerer Schwarzer Frauen, die in Deutschland leben, arbeiten und Menschen inspirieren. Von intimen Darstellungen zweier einander vertrauensvoll zugewandter Frauen über lebhafte Aufnahmen mehrerer Sistahs bis hin zu wunderschönen Einzelportraits: der Fotoband portraitiert diese Frauen und ihr Miteinander in verschiedenen Situationen des Lebens. Damit präsentierte die afrodeutsche Fotografin Nzitu Mawakha (1973-2014) eine in Deutschland einzigartige Portraitsammlung. In den Begleittexten sind die portraitierten Frauen diejenigen, die die Fragen stellen und kehren so die Blickrichtung um – zurück auf die Betrachtenden und Lesenden.
Nzitu Mawakha war Fotografin und langjähriges Mitglied der Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (ISD-Bund e.V.). Geboren in Arusha, Tansania und aufgewachsen in Köln, war Nzitu Mawakha seit 1998 an verschiedenen Projekten beteiligt gewesen unter anderem als Assistentin der Theaterfotografin Mara Eggert am Schauspielhaus Hannover und als Fotografin für die Ausstellung „Superficial – Fragile Terrains in Glass“, welche neue Arbeiten der finnischen Designerin Anu Penttinen zeigte. Weiterhin war sie als Teamfotografin für die durch die Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung finanzierte Ausstellung „Homestory Deutschland“ tätig. Nzitu Mawakha starb in Berlin am 8. August 2014.
Asante sana Nzitu, Tunakupenda.
It was love at first sound between music and me. It saved my soul in more than one situation. People very often suggested for no particular reason that I might be good at singing. Those cliché-based statements did not stop me from doing exactly what the society I chose to live in expected of me – to sing! I sang and sang and sang myself free …
By us, for us: A collective self-portrait
Daima. Images of Women of Colour in Germany is a collection of selected black and white photographic portraits of inspiring Black women who live and work in Germany. From intimate representations of two ladies confiding in each other, through lively group pictures of sistahs together, to beautiful individual portraits: this book captures their interactions in a variety of settings. Afro-German photographer Nzitu Mawakha (1973-2014) presented a unique collection of striking images and combines these with texts, where the women portrayed focus their gaze on the reader-viewer and where the women portrayed are the ones to ask the questions.
Nzitu Mawakha was a photographer and a long-standing member of the registered association Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (Initiative Black People in Germany). Born in Arusha, Tanzania and raised in Cologne, Nzitu Mawakha had been involved in various projects since 1998, including as assistant to the theatre photographer Mara Eggert at the Schauspielhaus Hannover and as photographer for the exhibition „Superficial – Fragile Terrains in Glass“, which showed new works by the Finnish designer Anu Penttinen. She also worked as a team photographer for the exhibition „Homestory Deutschland“ financed by the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Nzitu Mawakha died in Berlin on 8 August 2014.
Asante sana Nzitu, Tunakupenda.
Praise for Daima:
As a person of dual heritage with roots in Germany, I welcome this literary and artistic achievement in my personal library, and recommend it without reservation to both individuals and academic institutions.
There are an infinite number of adjectives I could use to describe this textual and visual masterpiece. Ultimately, Daima is a powerful and compelling work. It is especially remarkable, in that it brings together personal narrative and spirited visual representation that at once speaks to the multiplicity of the contemporary experience of Women of Colour in Germany. Importantly as it is written in English, for those of us who were adopted and brought to the United States during the Post World War II Occupation and struggle today with the German language, it is indeed a cherishable volume. From a scholarly perspective, it lends itself to an interdisciplinary audience, to which our organization, the Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA), will be happy and committed to endorse and promote.
President, Black German Heritage and Research Association
Young Americans exposed to the study of German in American schools have the mistaken impression that all Germans are white and Germany is a homogenous culture (a Leitkultur). Daima provides visual evidence to the contrary. The images and texts are eloquent witnesses of a multicultural Germanness that has had to withstand a constant onslaught of discrimination and racism. At the same we can see the strength that is found in communities. This book will be a valuable tool to motivate students of color to learn German. On a simplistic level having the young person of color in our society see someone from German society that looks like them is a first step to bringing them into the German classroom.
The most important aspect of Daima however are the descriptions of the various strategies used by the women to preserve their sense of self in the face of overwhelming prejudice and exclusion. That is a lesson and a mechanism which students of color in our society can profit from. We are all members of the great African Diaspora because we share common experiences. Daima puts a face on the German segment of that Diaspora.
Leroy T. Hopkins
Professor of German, Millersville University
English Language Book Series