My name is Sella and I am German and Kenyan, my mom is German and my dad is Kenyan. I am a journalist. I was actually born in Cologne, I am a Kölsche Mädchen (laughing – ed.), but I only lived here until I was 6 years old. My parents wanted to go back to Africa (they are both doctors) and we went to Zimbabwe first and after 5 years moved to Kenya but only stayed there for two years and had moved to Tanzania right at the Kilimanjaro mountain in a small town.
I came back to Germany to study for a Master’s Degree in Anthropology in Frankfurt and actually remained there for 7 years – the longest I have ever stayed in one place (laughing – ed.).
Are you bilingual?
Yes. German was actually my first language, it was spoken at home. When I was 6 I learnt English.
Do you feel yourself more German or Kenyan?
Both. Definitely both! I have a very strong connection to Germany. I grew up with the German culture and I had a strong influence from my German grandparents that visited us all the time in Africa. I also feel Kenya even thought I lived there for a very short time. I grew up with dad’s stories from Kenya and politically I feel very close to Kenya.
Do people in Germany ask you about your nationality?
Yes they do. Everybody wants to know where I come from, but Germans are very careful in asking, they don’t want to be rude….
Doesn’t that disturb you?
No that is fine. What disturbs me more is the African identity because I often feel like I have to prove that I am African as well.
Do you think Germany is a multicultural society?
No… it is becoming more multicultural, but if you compare it to the places like the USA, Canada or the UK, you just notice the difference. People here are not really integrated, but rather assimilated: they behave like Germans, they need to learn German, they have to go under and assimilate. However, it is changing by force, Germans are more exposed to different cultures now… it is not an attitude that is changing, it is rather becoming a norm. You start finding it normal rather than negative or strange.