Germany’s population of African descent is estimated at over a million. A big community which needs to communicate with itself as well as with others.
Sam Atsu Nove, who died on 9 March 2020, was the pioneer networker of the Black community in Germany.
His observation of the difficulties of Africans navigating their community challenged the communications specialist to publish the first directory of the Black community in Germany.
Printed for the first time in 1997, African-German Contacts: Directory of the African Communities in Germany became the must-have for anybody interested in communicating with or within the African community in Germany then.
The directory, a painstaking compilation of contact information for African institutions, businesses and professionals such as artists, educationists and translators, as well as German institutions connected to Africa, offers a reliable access to anybody interested in Africa in Germany.
From scholars and journalists to companies seeking African contacts, from Africans looking for the nearest shop or beauty salon or for a place to worship with fellow Africans, African-German Contacts offered invaluable help.
It is difficult to imagine today what a big relief the directory was then, before the internet became the inexhaustible mine of information.
African-German Contacts was conceived and published when the internet was still in its infancy. It was a time when an African musician in Hamburg knew no other African practitioners of his art in Bremen unless he inquired through friends living in the city. African scholars would have to labour to find peers in the country with whom to collaborate. It was simply a period the community didn’t know much about itself.
When I [Femi Awoniyi] met Sam Nove for the first time in April 1998, after publishing the second issue of The African Courier, the newspaper was yet to penetrate the African community and it was his gracious tips and especially the directory’s information that helped us gain access to the community.
It’s said that community is an experience and not a thing. Nove helped people of African descent in Germany to gain a more intensive community life.
Born into a family of cocoa farmers and Kente weavers in Agotime-Kpetoe district of the Volta Region of Ghana, Sam Atsu Nove arrived in Germany in the early 1970s.
He studied applied linguistics, education and mass communications in Accra, Munich and Berlin, and worked as translator and interpreter of German, French, English and Ewe.
An astute intellectual, Nove dedicated his life to African issues, ranging from decolonisation and anti-racism to critically analysing the development of African-European political and economic relations. And how the political and cultural overcoming of dependencies can be shaped.
Nove’s intimate knowledge of the African diaspora in Germany made him a veritable intercultural communication expert. And he made immense contributions to the emergence of the organised African community in today’s Germany.
Sam Atsu Nove is survived by children and grandchildren.
May his soul rest in peace.
Femi Awoniyi & Musah Ibrahim Musah