Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black people in Austria - The life of a young Austrian from Ghana

Via Blackinnrw

A story on Afrikanet about a second generation black Austrian with a Ghanaian background who feels rejected in Ghana and in the country he considers home.

Read parts of the story here. The photo is not from the orginal story, but is of the photo series of Philipp Horak about black people in Austria.

A “true Viennese"

Kofi Akwanpa likes to consider himself a “true Viennese with a Ghanaian background.” He was born 25 years ago in Vienna. He was born in Austria, speaks and writes perfect German and studied in Austria: but he does not feel accepted by the austrian society.

Kofi Akwanpa speaks perfect German and is even very proud to be able to speak and write Viennese dialect as well. When asked what his mother tongue his, the proud answer is: “German, of course.” “I went to school here, I studied in Austria and have my friends here. To put it another way: I was socialised in Austria.”

Although he travelled to Ghana with this parents every second year from the age of two, he does not feel socially integrated in Ghana, even though “I highly regard both country and people.”

It was important to the parents for their children to gain first-hand experience of both cultures. Kofi remembers skiing holidays in Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Styria. “We were always the only African fam- ily wherever we went skiing,” he says.

Kofi’s childhood memories also include vacations on farms and excursions to several tourist destinations in Austria such as Mariazell, Großglockner, and even Melk and Radenthein, a smal town located in Carinthia, the southernmost Austrian federal state.

Kofi feels Austrian and thought his home was here. But after finishing his university studies he had to undergo painful experiences. After graduating with a business degree from the Vienna University of Economics—”with distinction,” as he points out—he wanted to start a career in banking. He dreamt of a rosy future, he says, because “I am very good with numbers and people. These had been my strengths for years.”

He wanted to start his career from scratch and applied to a well-known Austrian bank for a job behind the counter. As he puts it, he wanted to engage in “direct contact with people.” This proved to be an unrealistic dream for a black Austrian. His application was turned down. Several weeks later he found out from a friend who worked for the same bank that employing a black person at the counter was feared to have “a negative impact on the traditional Austrian clients.”

Read full article at Afrikanet

Black Austria photo series of Philipp Horak at
www.philipphorak.com

Black Austria - An Anti-racism campaign in Austria (2007 - 2009)at www.blackaustria.at

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