[i] Hello Mr [name] , thank you for taking your time to participate in our project.  The project is called “Specially Unknown” by the European Community.  This is a project which is carried out in the Stdat Bochum, by the Museum Zeche Hannover.  I ask you, if you can introduce yourself first, so that the people who will follow you know who they are dealing with?

Thank you very much, my name is [name] , I come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I am married, I am the father of four children and I live in Germany.  I can say that about myself so far.  I am ready to answer all the questions I am asked.

Thank you, you come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, you were born there, we would like to know something about your childhood in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I did not have the opportunity to say that. The Congo is big.  I was born in the province of Kasai Occidental, actually in the city of Kananga, Kananga is the capital of the Luluaburg region.  I was born on November 15, 1963.  I have lived all the time in my country.  For information: The Kong has two Kasai, Kasai Oriental (East Kasai) and Kasai Occidental (West Kasai). I am from the Kasai Occidental, which is in the province of my mother. My father is originally from the Kasai Oriental. After living in Kananga for some time, I moved with my mother and father to Mbuji Mayi where I had the opportunity to go to school.  There I had attended primary school and secondary school. When I finished school I was in Kinshasa, which is the political capital of Congo.

[i] Thank you very much!  Let’s go back to Kasai. As you just said, you were born in the province […] , in the city of Kananga. How was your childhood?  Let’s say your childhood before school.  Do you remember events or contacts or friends from your childhood?

Yes, sure, I had had many friends, I had known a good friend to whom I had become very accustomed, his name was Muamba.  I had known other friends, one was called Tshibangu, I had also known [?] [-?] . There were many. I had lived my childhood in the African rhythm, in society. I had had many acquaintances, many young people of my age who were in school with me.  We were together in elementary school, I had friends from my part of town with whom we had played football. They are many.  The list is very long if I have to name them all.

[i] Thank you very much!  Besides the friends, you only talked about the friends, but when you were young, you also had the family. You had brothers and sisters, cousins, mother, father.  Do you have any childhood memories to tell about your own family?

A good question, my mother, I speak first of all of Kananga, where I was born with […] where I am.  My mother is the fourth in a family of six.  There was one big brother, one big sister, two big brothers, one big sister, and then another little brother. I have two cousins from the maternal side, all my uncles have had children.  My aunts as well, they had children. My uncle, the eldest, had four sons and five daughters. The second [uncle] had two sons and four daughters. And my aunt also had seven [children] , three daughters and four sons. Then comes my mother, so […] Besides my mother there was also the youngest, there were also two sons and three daughters.

[i] Thank you very much!  Do you also have any memories of the primary school you attended in Kananga?

[r] Yes, of course. I had attended the school called Lumumbe Municipal School. I had been there from the first to the fourth year of primary school. Then I left this school, then I went to a private school called Anisha, Institut Pilote de Anisha. Anisha is a zone or commune in the region. Then I finished primary school. Then I had started the secondary school, let’s say the orientation level, in Lycee Kuguakele, where I had attended the first and the second orientation level. Then I left this school, then I went to college, the most famous one, it was called: Petit College Saint Louis.  Today it is called “Bandayi”.  I went to school there.  After I finished the orientation level, I went to the big college always called “Saint Louis”, always in Kananga, it was like that.

Thank you very much for all this accuracy. May I ask if you still have contacts or memories from your school days to this day? Do you still have contacts with friends or classmates?

Yes, I have for example [contact?] The child of my director of the municipal school which I have mentioned, she is in Brussels.  I have never forgotten [he[r] .  The name of this mother, the director, Tutu Kapumbu, who loved me very much because of my wisdom at school, so I have contacts with her until today because she is still alive. I had lost her contact details, but through her daughter, whom I had met in Brussels, I had received the number.  I had called the director directly, my former director, and then I re-established contacts with her. She had had a great influence on my life. Besides these I have friends, like Muamba, I have […] […] I have there, I know one of my friends who was […] with me in Kananga and who is currently deputy commander of the airport of Ndjili, the international airport of Kinshasa.  I am friends with these people.

[i] Thank you very much! You had left Kananga to continue your life in which city? Or in which region [province] of your country?

[r] Okay! To Kananga, because it’s really […] , I don’t know how to say that. At that time it was the same region that had been distributed because of the prolems.  When the [-?] […] came.  So during independence, during the time of independence, there were people from East Kasai who were forced to return to them. There was a war that I cannot declare between the same people. But this war was politicized. My father had worked, he was a civil servant, he had to go with the whole family to Mbuji Mayi. That means me, my brothers and my mother.  When we left we went from Kananga to Mbuji Mayi, where my father continued his work.

In Mbuji Mayi, how had you continued your life, what had you done? Because we are talking about you, can you perhaps tell us about your life in Mbuji Mayi?

Yes, when I came to Mbuji Mayi, um, I stayed in Mbuji Mayi for many years.  Um, when I came because after I finished school, so let’s say when I finished secondary school [Petit College] , I went to another secondary school called Grand College. There I hadn’t had a chance to get my high school diploma. Um […] For finishing secondary school to get the baccalaureate. When I had come to Mbuji Mayi, I had continued to attend school to get the Abitur.  With the Abitur I was allowed to go to university. When I finished, I had got the Abitur in Mbuji Mayi. That was at the Tshiboyi Institute. When I got this “Diplome d’État”, or Baccalaureat, as the others call it, I was forced to do civilian service. If you had got the diploma [Abitu[r] in this time, in the time of the president Mobutu, then you had to do the civilian service.  I had to work for two years before I got permission to continue my studies. When I went to work, I had the function of a teacher, I was the third person after the director and his deputy. I had replaced teachers who, for example, were ill. I had taught when a teacher was absent. Then I had taught, I had taught. I taught in [acoustically not clea[r] [?] In middle school, for two years.  Then, after two years I had gone from Mbuji Mayi to Kinshasa to continue there for the rest of my life.

Did you finish secondary school in the direction of pedagogy or in another direction? And what was your motivation to follow the high school in this direction?

That wasn’t my will at first.  Let’s say because where I was, that’s where I started […] I had about the orientation level, that was […] that was the school system in our country. When you finished the second orientation level, you could be oriented in a certain direction. That could be pedagogy, economics, humanities, and so on. So I was forced to go in the direction of the humanities.  I had made the direction of humanities, from 3rd to 4th secondary school [secondary level?] . When I left [school] there to go to Mbuji Mayi because people said the teachers didn’t have a good life, and […] I had the ambition […] When I started this, I really wanted to be a journalist. But when I came, with the discouragement of the people who had said [that] , I was forced to do the direction of education. Um, pedagogy, option Physchopäda[gogik?] [psychology?] . So with, I had learned the four methods: general pedagogy, genetics [development?] , um, genetics, general methodology, particular methology.  That was in this institution, let’s say exactly in the institute of Tshibulu.

[i] Have you worked with your secondary school degree for your country?

[r] Yes!  After my graduation I was forced to do two years of community service before I was allowed to go to college.  When I did that, I was a civil servant, I got my salary.  Before I was allowed to do anything.  When I came to Kinshasa I had already experienced the taste of money, I was forced to continue my studies because I already had permission. And I had not only studied.  I also worked as a teacher during my studies, what is called [-?] […] . I went to university and I also taught at school. I was “Cumular”, I had cumulated the two. So during that time, I served my country.  I was enrolled at the “Instut des Recherches Scientifiques” [Scientific Research Institute] . I could be a civil servant as a young man.  If the archive is still there, you can see my number by my name, um, how do you say that, I even forgot [that] the registration number. My matriculation number!

[i] At what level and in what area did you work as a teacher?

[r] Um, I am, so first I was trained as a primary school teacher. When you get your Abitur, it’s [did you need this?] to be a teacher, a specialist in education. That means in all three levels:  Elementary level, intermediate level and final level. I had done that.  Now, uh, when I came to Kinshasa, I had to do with economics. When I was busy with economics, I had been teaching at the same time. Um, before I had always taught in a primary school in Kinshsa, the school is called “École Primaire Saint Martin” [Primary School Saint Martin] . Today it is called “École Primaire Inkisi” [Inkisi Primary School] . I had taught there and then I went at the same time to the school [college] , to the university.  Then I changed schools later. I then taught at the Lycée Leclerc, which was always in Kinshasa.  After that I was where I had finished my career in education in my country before I could continue my life adventure.

You said that you were first in Kananga, then in Mbuji Mayi, and finally you came to Kinshasa. If you have to compare the difference between living in these three cities, what can you tell us?  The city of Kananga, Mbuji Mayi and Kinshasa, all three are cities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, [all are] far away from each other and then, um, I know that Kananga is located in the Kasai region, in Kinshasa the population is mixed.  What can you say if you [should] make a comparison between these three cities and always compare your life in these cities?

Um, things change when I was there, life was very good.  Life in Kananga was very good.  As in Mbuji Mayi.  Let’s say it wasn’t the capital, but […] the metropolis is Kinshasa, where there was a mixture of different cultures. Life in Kananga and Mbuji Mayi was a family life.  Because we live with ourselves [we] in the extended family. Life was not as expensive as in Kinshasa. In Kinshasa life was a bit more expensive, but that was always accessible, and […] because the things were still good.

They didn’t compare them, they even just talked about the city of Kananga. I wanted you to talk about your life in Kinshasa as well as in Kananga. That you make a comparison between your employment in Kanaga and in Kinshasa, or in general.

When I was in Mbuji Mayi and in Kananga, Mbuji Mayi, um, life wasn’t […] let’s first say life was almost the same because the people who worked there were civil servants because they got a card.  Which they called “ayant droit”. As a civil servant you could use the hospital treatment free of charge. Besides, when I left there, I came [-?] […] , it was the same life.  When I came to Kinshasa, we still had the same system. We had the card called “ayant droit” and then with another card called “Libre parcours”. This gave us the opportunity to use all public transport in the city without paying anything. There was a big difference because in Mbuji Mayi there were no city buses, but in Kinshasa there were. In Mbuji Mayi and Kananga there were no city buses. There were only private buses, we had the card called “ayant droit”. So we could get the medical treatment for free. But in Kinshasa we had this card, we also had a possibility Ahm […] We had a card called “libre parcours”. “Libre parcours” was a map that allowed all officials to use the buses of the city for free.  There was also a big difference.

When you left Kananga, then Mbuji Mayi to go to Kinshasa, did you leave alone, or with your family? If yes or no, who did you live with in Kinshasa?

[r] Yes! Like I said, I didn’t go to Kinshasa with my family, [not] my father and mother.  My father had already died [Acoustically inaudible] From Mbuji Mayi I went alone, then there was my uncle who was who also [worked] for the Presidency of the Republic. He was one of the bodyguards of Mobutu [then Seed President of Congo] There was also, um, her [my] big brother who had lived there, but I was alone with my brothers.

Had you not been homesick when you left your family in Kananga, or in Mbuji Mayi?  Had you also undertaken trips to visit them? How were the contacts with your family who had stayed in the region when you had lived in Kinshasa?

That wasn’t missing, the Heimwehr is one thing, very […] that was always there. So in the beginning it hurt me, and then […] as a man I had to find my way. But when I left, I was homesick. Sometimes I had to find the people who had lived with me [-?] […] and then the question arose that I had to find a new relationship, […] all this. These contacts, when I went back to Mbuji Mayi, I was always in the family. Because the people who had lived with me then, I had worked there with some people who had stayed there. My return resulted in a different mood, a [different] mood of the family, [unlike] what I didn’t find in Kinshsa.

Then you were in Kinshasa.  You were at the university or had you only taught? Can you talk about your life in Kinshasa? Also about your student and professional life?

That’s why I said that when I came, I was cumulative. I had worked and studied at the same time.

[i] Other of the university.

At the university.

[i] In which profession and in which university? Can you talk about your life as a student, which is very important to me because it’s a life that shapes our lives in general, especially student life is a different life than school life. This also determines our professional career. Can you talk a little about your life as a student?

When I arrived in Kinshasa, I had been teaching, and then I had done [-?] […] at the university, […] let’s say economics. I had done economics, I had done bookkeeping. I had done that at university, I had studied to graduation.  I graduated from university with a degree in economics and finance.

Thank you for the accuracy.  The university in Kinshasa was the university called Unikin [?] , the former Lovanium University.  And then you were there, you graduated there.  After your studies, what did you do, please?

I always wanted to continue my studies so I could get my license to go on from there. But in view of the situation, which was getting worse and worse, I was forced to leave the country so that I could start adventures in other countries, searching for the rest of my life.

Okay, like you said yourself, you wanted to go yourself because we are also interested in the lives of people who have left their country. Can you tell us how it happened that you left your country?

[r] Yes! Because life became harder every day. Life got harder and harder with the government of that time. I always had the idea that if I left the country, I could do something else somewhere else, and life would get better.  I had decided, in view of the dictatorship, which I had already mentioned, the universities were often closed.  So I had seen that if I had stayed there, I would not have had the opportunity to do something better.  From there I had gone to [-?] […] [Brazzaville] . I was forced to leave Kinshasa, the capital of my country, where I lived to live elsewhere.  I had gone from Kinshasa to Brazzaville.

You’re talking about the dictatorship, it’s so general, can you explain it a bit, exactly what was the political situation like?  How was the political situation in Congo at the time when they lived there as adults? In other words, after your secondary education?

First of all the coming of [-?] […] , because there was no multi-party system with our old president.  We had, um, a single political party, MPR [Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution] . It was the only party, a single leader and, as they had said, a single country.  When I was there, as I had just said, the universities were closed because there was only one party that made the decisions.  She was the master for everyone.  Well, you couldn’t say “no” to them. That means that this party was the only Meiser for everyone. Nobody could contradict what she had decided. So all this for the life of a man, with his deprived freedom, without freedom of opinion, there was no such thing.  So I was afraid that I could split up, [?] so that […] and if I split up [?] and it would be my death, life was very strange, as it is now.  So this goes on.

[i] They always talk about him, who is this “him”? I ask because we are in Germany, in a democratic country and then [we?] [-?] are not in Congo. Are you afraid? He has a name and you always talk about “him”. Can’t you tell us who exactly this dictator is?  And could you tell us something about him, about his life?  What was during his power?  We want to know exactly what you are talking about.

When I talk about “him,” it’s not quite good. I can call him by his name, his name was Mobutu, Joseph Desire Mobutu, before he changed his name by the ideology “Recours à l’Autenticité”. Then he was called Mobutu Sese Seko.

What was his power like, if you can sum it up in a few words?

In the beginning it was not bad, he had gotten power at the age of 32. And then, when he was [still] young, despite the difficulties, people hadn’t quite felt it.  Life was pleasant or even very pleasant. Gradually, [the longer he] stayed there, uh, [the] the liver got worse, worse and worse.  That is, it got harder and harder with the dictatorship. That was a person, as I had said, with his only party, you couldn’t say no to Mobutu. Even members of his government, for example a minister, who was not allowed to say no. So we had lived under the total dictatorship system. Very strong.  It’s hard to compare.  So that was a man, very heavy, so he was a good [?] [real?] dictator.

[i] Thank you very much!  I’m Congolese too, so let me ask you a question. Remember the date of October 14, 2018? I ask because today is October 14, 2018.

October 14, 2018, today we are on October 14, 2018. Reminds me of […] As you just asked me, October 14, 2018 reminds me of the birthday of former President Mobutu.

[i] Thank you very much!  Let us say that you have spoken of [-?] […] .  I asked you who Mobutu was, what was his regime.  Then you had left the country.  Leaving your country, what was it that made you leave your country?  Had you had a personal problem, or had you just decided to leave the country?  And as you said before, to go to the adventure somewhere else.

I didn’t want, um, if all was well, I wouldn’t have left my country. But because of the dictatorial regime we had in Congo, there was no free opinion within the population. I was forced to leave. Besides, the closure of the universities and many other things. I couldn’t stay any longer because when you were finished […] For example, when the university was closed, you could go back. There was a time when all the students were sent back to their original province. Then […] With this system [?] doesn’t show that if I had stayed, I could go on [studying] and achieve my dream goals. So I was forced to leave.

[i] For what reasons were universities closed? Was it just for fun, or were there events that led to it? How can you justify that?

Because of demonstrations by students, protests by students. The students had protested against the regime. They had resisted Mobutu’s rule. As a punishment the students were sent back to the respective region. They were sent back to their villages so that they could no longer be heard from.

Were you sent back to your village in the same way? Or hadn’t you had such misfortune?

[r] No, I wasn’t sent back.

[i] You had left your country to go where? Can you talk to us about your Abentueur? So that we could understand a little bit what it was like.

I had first looked for the land that was closest to me, that is, I left Kinshasa to cross the river. That means, uh, [I went] to Congo Brazzaville first.

[i] You were in Congo Brazzaville, what were you doing there? How long did you stay there?  How had they lived there and in which city?

I had had the opportunity to visit three big cities.  First I was in Brazzaville, I had lived in Wenze [Commune of Brazzaville] . And I also worked there as a teacher. And then I left there to go to the town of Pointe Noire.  Then, from Pointe Noire, I went back to Brazzaville. I had visited [-?] […] .  Let’s say there were four cities I had visited. I visited the province, um […] in the north, “la Sanga”.  I had visited “la Sanga”, so let’s say the province of “Weso” [Ouesso] .  After Weso I had returned to Brazzaville, then I had visited the city of Lobomo, today called Dolesie. Then I had returned to Kinshasa. And in Padon in Brazzaville to continue my journey.

[i] You speak of “visiting”, had you made visits there or had you lived there?  [Did they stay there?] for some time and [did] do professional activities in the cities of Congo Brazaville?

I first worked in Brazaville, I didn’t visit anyone, I lived there. I lived in Brazzaville, in the municipality of Wenze, I had taught in the “Lycée Liberation”. Then I had to go to Ouesso [Weso] , where I had found a way to work as the paying agent in a Libanais company. I had said that [acoustically not clea[r] [-?] .  From there I left with the same people to go to Pointe Noire.

Thank you for all the accuracy.  They are Congolese from Kinshasa.  You left Congo and you went to Brazaville, where you had lived for some time.  If you are asked how long you stayed in Congo Brazaville and what was the reception you received in this neighbouring country?

Man can only feel better with him [at home?] . Although there isn’t much difference between Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa. Um, I wasn’t feeling too good.  People can only feel better with him [at home] . The reception was sufficient, um.

[i] Okay. How long did you stay in Congo Brazaville and when did you leave Congo Brazaville and go where?  I stayed in Congo Brazaville for three and a half years, I worked there.  Then, from there, um, I was from Brazaville to Yaunde, to Cameroon. Well, I had practically stayed there for three and a half years. In those three years I had also returned to Kinshasa from time to time in the meantime. During the holiday season I had the opportunity to travel to my home country. From Kinshasa I could take a plane from Air Afrique to Cameroon.

[i] You are in Cameroon, where you […] What had you done in Cameroon?

[r] [He laughs] Like I said, I always had, um, before studying. I arrived in Cameroon, I enrolled in the University of Ngouakele to attend the Faculty of Law and Economics. So I had continued my studies there.  I was baptized in the church by the faith direction Adventist [Christian Revival Movement] . There I had the opportunity to be supported by the church. That is, the Church sent us to work in the printing house of the Church in Yaunde or […] there was the founding of the College Adventist of Yaunde.  And when the University of Adventists was founded and the College of Adventists of Yaunde, then I was away from the printing house to work in the college. I had taught Adventist at Yaunde College. So it was the same institution, run by the same boss. Um, so I was in school and after school […] I had cumulated [both combined] , I had cumulated the two, the university and the work.  I worked to cover my needs. And then I worked first in the printing house of the Adventist Church, then in the College of Adventists in Central Africa.

They were in Congo Brazza[ville] , a French-speaking country, where Lingala is certainly spoken, a language that is also spoken in Congo Kinshasa. Then you arrived in Cameroon.  Cameroon is a French speaking country, but they are a different people.  How did you [feel] the difference between the inhabitants of Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville?

Africa remains, we have almost the same mentality.  Nevertheless it’s a bilingual country, which means we speak English and French. Before the dictatorship, before suffering and violence it was a very beautiful country.

[i] It was a very beautiful country, what does that mean? That is, is there a big difference between life there and life in Congo Kinshasa and Congo Brazaville?  Or was there?

Yes! Congo Kinshasa, Congo Brazaville.  Congo Kinshasa had not yet reached food self-sufficiency, but Cameroon had reached food self-sufficiency since 1984. Since 1984. I found that the people who had worked in education had that many had no car, but as teachers we had worked. There were schools called denominational schools, private schools and state schools. People who had worked in the state schools had been paid less in Kinshasa than those who had worked in private schools. In Brazaville, people who had worked in state schools were better paid than people in Kinshasa. But in Cameroon, the people who worked in the state schools were better paid than those who worked in the private schools. I had friends who taught in the primary school and who had a car.  Whereas when I was there, it was hard to find someone who had a car that was a teacher.  The food was enough, you hadn’t felt any suffering, not the way it exists today.  There was a big difference.

How long did you stay in Cameroon? Were you able to graduate from university in Cameroon?

Before I left my country I already had a university degree. I still had [-?] in Cameroon, and I almost stayed there for the rest of my life. Because I had gone from [to? out?] Cameroon in 1984, 1982. I had spent a large part of my life in Cameroon.

[i] How was the reception of the Adventist Church in Cameroon?

This is a very good church.  In Cameroon, because they had done everything to […] There was no […] You could be someone who had come from another country, I had talked about the first Adventist. The person who was the director of that printing house was a Nigerian. The Adventist system, because the nominations are not made by the people of the country, but the nominations are made by the Association of Adventist Churches. No, the division of the Adventist Church. We have five in the world, and [fo[r] all countries the subdivision is: Africa, Indian Sea, which has its seat in Ivory Coast. The accountant from the Association of the Adventist Church in Yaunde, in Douala, was someone from Brazaville.  So why was the college called Advantist in Central Africa? Because there was a mixture of all the people who were students there, the foreigners. The treasurer of this college was Central African. So there they found the Congolese, we were two who had taught in that college.  There were also some Congolese who had taught in primary school, always in an Adventist school, because it was a school complex. Then there were Nigerians, Ghanians and Cameroonians. We were mixed, so this was called the “College Advantist in Central Africa”. The college was to be founded in Rwanda, but it had been founded in Cameroon.  There were many people of different nationalities. So the Advantistkirche is a church that I love very much. I don’t love the church but I love the system because we all pray and we all believe in God. I think it’s very good.  They are very good.  They are almost the same in Africa as here in Germany, where we are.

After Cameroon, did you go to other countries or did you come directly here to Germany?

No, in Cameroon, when I left Cameroon, I basically wanted to go to the USA.  That didn’t work out, so I was forced to leave Cameroon and go through Nigeria.  In Nigeria I had taken my flight, my flight, um, so for [-?] [acoustically not clea[r] , for [too quiet] , to go to Senegal. In Senegal I had taken my flight, in the airport of Yos [Acoustically indistinct] with the airline Condor to get around to Germany.

[i] Okay, we’re in Germany, it’s a cold country in terms of climate. There is a big difference between the climate of Africa and the climate of Germany.  In Africa we have two different climates, here you have four climates.  How did you find the climate of Germany in general? There is the cold weather that strikes [?] when you come back before you start another job.

In Africa we have only two climates or two seasons, there is the dry season and the rainy season.  It’s warm in Africa and it’s cold here.  That’s a big difference.  From the cold […] From the heat to the cold, it’s a big difference. Therefore, when we came I had the impression that this cold had also penetrated into the mentality of the people. People also seemed to be very cold.  So there was a big difference.

[i] How cold? People are or were cold? Can you say something about this behavior that you call “cold”?

People weren’t open.

What does “open” mean to you?

That is, people were very consecutive.

And now they’re still conservative, aren’t they? They were or they still are?

They are still conservative, but with the only difference that today Germany belongs to the European Community, so people demonstrate, they fight against this cold mentality.  Against the mentality of the people, so that the people are hospitable. So they’re fighting now and that’s starting to change. That has even, let’s say, that has already changed 50%.

When did you arrive and in which city?

I had my flight from Yos airport, that was a Wednesday to land at Frankfurt airport, geanu in Fankfurt.

[i] What year was it?

[r] In the year 19 […] , um, 1992.

[i] You are in Frankfurt, how had things developed until you arrived in the city of Bochum, where we are now?

[r] Yes! When I came to Frankfurt, as I said, I didn’t really want to come here. I wanted to go to the United States, there were coincidences that had ensured that I had stayed, that I could no longer make my trip to the United States. I, uh, first introduced myself to apply for asylum. I applied for asylum at Frankfurt airport. I had to stay there for three days waiting for an interpreter. Because the people here don’t speak French, it’s a country where the [people] speak German. I stayed at the airport for three days so that an interpreter could be found. Then one was found, he was Ghanese and he spoke a little French.  I was surprised that the person had asked me to know, he asked: “Ah! You are the person.”  I don’t understand you because the Congolese, […] Congo is a country where you speak Lingala, French, Tshiluba and Kikongo and you are looking for an interpreter for French. That’s why people got doubts that you are Congolese. Even the German administration, “which was at the airport.”  I had explained to the people that the population in Congo is big and you can find a lot of people, especially those who were in school, who speak French. Then they allowed me to enter the country and stay.  I stayed in Frankfurt anyway not far from the city of Limburg.  But not in Frankfurt, the city of Frankfurt had sent me to a [different] city, um, to a small village not far from Limburg. They had asked me [after the?] difference […] how was my church there, so I was deeply concerned with the behavior of the people of my church.  Where I was, so I was in Limburg, that was a big city near a small village where I had lived, which was called Gern.  In Gern, well, we were in a small village. I had no possibility there, there was no church, there was nothing.  There was only one church, a New Apostolic Church.  They had picked us up every Sunday so that we could participate in their divine service. Every time we went to their church, I told them that I was a member of the Adventist Church.  I thank my sister the New Apostolic Church who picked me up by car and promised me that if they met members of the New Apostolic Church [Adventists?] they would notify me. But we are Christians and we believe in the same God. Instead of staying at home, you could come with us to learn from God. When they had the opportunity to meet a member of my church, um, he [them] had given my address. Then I went with him to Derne, where I had lived, and from there […] He had moved me from there somewhere else, I went to live in [-?] […] , he had given me an apartment. He had also lived in Cameroon, he had been a dentist, he had had the opportunity to buy a large apartment. He gave me an apartment.  I stayed with him for three weeks. My concern was always to find my church. From his home we were by car a distance of, I don’t know how many kilometers [on the way] , the city is called about Silweglar [?] , I already forgot the name. We drove in the direction of Frankfurt.  So one day there was the assignment.  I had informed him that I had to go to Bochum. We drove over Bergmann [?] , Bergmann, Bergmann.

[i] Bergkamen?

Bergkamen, Bergkamen, I was in Bergkamen for, for another week, I think. After a week I had found myself in Bochum. We went by bus, then we were dropped off in Bochum.  In Bochum I was not far away from my church, which is located on Königsallee 133.  I can say that God is with me, he had heard my prayer because I had always prayed to be near my church.

[i] You had found your church again, how was the reception in the church of the Adventists of Bochum?

We have the same, the same doctrine, almost the same mentality.  Created by God.  Um, they always had the same mentality, they had spoiled me a lot, [I was like a?] mother’s boy [spoiled child?] , they had taken care of [me] a lot.  They had managed to get me to change many things. [?] They had paid for me to go to school. [He laughs] So they had replaced my family.

[i] Thank you very much!  They had left [-?] […] [Africa? Cameroon? They had arrived in Frankfurt.  They had left Africa.  Africa had other cultures, Europe certainly had them too.  What can you say about the difference between the two cultures? The African culture and the European culture.

In Africa we have the system, um, I can say that Africa is a gas-friendly continent. We don’t have individualism.  There is extreme individualism here. Although we were well received but there is a big difference.  In Africa we talk about the extended family while here there is a strong individualism. That is a big difference.

They arrived safely in Bochum as refugees.  What can you say about the reception of the city of Bochum to your person?

I can’t say that the [reception] was bad because I was accommodated first, for a certain time.  Before I changed my apartment.  I had a private apartment, I was there.  The reception was good because they had accepted me so that I could enter the city and live my life.

How had you managed to overcome the social and psysical distance between Bochum and your country Congo?

Despite everything I can have here, I still miss my country.  Um, I miss that very much, especially when I think of childhood memories that I had experienced in the regions, in my regions of Kasi.  And in Kinshasa.  Um, here I was […] I was forced to look for new friends.  Friends are not replaced for that. That didn’t replace the life I lived here until now, I think.

People in Germany say that black people in Germany have many difficulties compared to other nationalities.  Because the Germans hadn’t recognized the colonization, or you had recognized the colonization, but they had lost the colonies. And all this for comparison with other countries like France, Belgium, Great Britain […] How did you perceive this reception?  The reception of you as a black African for comparison with other nationalities?

In my time there was [the following:] Even when we were looking for work, they said that one job went first to the Germans. After the Germans came the Europeans.  After the Europeans came the rest of the nationalities, including the Indians, the others, and the blacks were last. That may be true.

And now there is already a change regarding such classifications into these different nations or different nationalities?

Not quite, not quite, because I’ve met a lot of people who are black.  When they went to look for a school, they were told that they would give priority to the Syrians first. They were the ones who first had the right to learn the spray. And free of charge.  But if a black person wants to learn the language, he has to pay for it himself.  That is, so that he can take an intensive course.

Do you have a message for the authorities? About the way of behaving, so Africans as well as the people who look after the Africans and advise them in the city of Bochum?

In fact, I would ask them to change that position [attitudes?] because there are some things that the leaders of the city sometimes don’t know about. Things that some hired do, some civil servants.  I ask you to change that.  Because every person is a foreigner.  It would be important that they change [that] , they should accept people equally.

They have come to Germany, the German language is spoken here, a language that is not spoken in the Congo. How did you do that to find your way around, and how did that become today, the relationship with the German language?

It is a second culture for me, in addition to my African culture. I could say that, um […] speaking German is […] a second culture.  That helps me a lot, I can do that one day in my home country or somewhere else. It’s something very important. Besides, I had attended the courses at first, I had done the intensive courses, in the adult education centre.  That was really intensive because I wanted to continue my studies. When I finished, I was forced to continue the courses at ASTA. The ASTA [General Student Committee] is an organisation of foreign students here.  So I was able to learn a little German.

[i] It is said that Germany is a state where bureaucracy is very strong. When you came here, did you also have to confront the bureaucracy? How did you make progress? Can you make a comparison between the bureaucracy in Germany and the countries in Africa where you were? Between the bureaucracy in Germany and the countries in Africa where you had been, that is, from Congo Kinshasa to Cameroon?

Africa remains the same, Africa, I would call a hospitable continent, a continent that welcomes foreigners well. They even live there.  There are many of them, in Cameroon, in Congo, in Brazzaville.  The Germans even live there and let’s say there’s no problem at all when you see […] Let’s say a German, a European, some person, there are foreigners who are welcomed to Africa.  But that was not the case here.  I can only say that one should have courage. You take the courage, you have to work two or three times.  You have to show what you are capable of doing in order to move forward.

[i] What are the education courses you have been able to do in Germany since you came here?

I had first learned the German language, that is also an education, because I had learned the language. After learning the language I had also studied at a large school in Bochum called the Verwaltungs- und Wirtschaftsakademie.

Do you have contacts with your families who stayed in the Congo?

I have contacts.

Do you also feel homesick for your country, the Congo?

I won’t miss that [?] , it will stay until the end, even if they give me something, it will stay. My country will always remain my country.

[i] What do you like here in the city of Bochum?

First, my safety, because when I came, they had protected me with everything that had happened in the Congo.  The continuation after the Mobutu regime, there were people who had taken power. It’s about Kabila the father, and Kabila the son.  With Kabila the son, the situation has worsened further, 100% compared to life even during the dictatorship of Mobutu. First of all is my safety, that’s the most important thing, the rest I can find in my house.  Here I am safe and I had received my papers, despite all the difficulties.  It’s about the courage I took upon myself, that [too much to understand acoustically] .  I’m safe, so when I’m sick there’s a treatment I like here. Especially these[s] . I can be treated and really under good conditions.

[i] You live a long time in the city of Bochum, can you tell us, how long have you lived here in Germany?

Really, I’m an Alt-Bochumer, it’s over now, soon I’ll add 26 or 25 [years] , the time I’m already in Bochum.

[i] If you have a message to give to foreigners in general and to the Congolese in particular, in relation to the lives of foreigners in Germany, what would your message be?

I will ask them to be patient, to have the courage to confuse people’s mentality, to be close to the German milieu, because if they gradually have contacts with Germans they will learn what can be hidden.  Courage and patience.

[i] If you had to advise someone who comes to Germany today so that he wouldn’t make the mistakes or [acoustically inaudible] or [so] he wouldn’t have many projects. [?] What would you tell him?

[r] I will first ask him to learn the German language, to do the German courses.

Had you already experienced problems with racial discrimination here in Germany during the time you lived here?

I had that, so I’m talking about “having courage,” so I had that, but I had the courage, I had the courage.

[i] What message can you give to the Germans who still have this idea of discrimination, who still have many prejudices against other races, especially against the black race?

I will ask them to consider each person as they consider themselves.  Because there are people on this earth who are abroad, who are also foreigners, they have to think that there are other people […] With the current situation, with the situation, with the current crisis, you find Germans everywhere, they are in the United States, in the Congo, in Cameroon, in Brazzaville, everywhere in the world. I find these people, we see that on TV, these people have a good life somewhere else, they were received by people.  They are called to accept people who come to them.

They are responsible for an association of Africans in Bochum, they work with Africans and with other organisations, also with the city of Bochum.  What can you tell us about your activities, we say about your commitment and your function in this organization, you personally?

I am a responsible person within the organization.  In the organization that was for Africans from the beginning, for the Congolese, but which is now being expanded because we [people from] care for all of Africa. I am the deputy chairman of the association and then we advise all foreigners, all Africans and even people who are not Africans.  They come to us, we have also looked after people who are not Africans. So I practice in my function, I am […] I accompany them to the authorities, I also look after them.  We do […] , how can I say, we organize […] um, anyway we usually do lectures about different countries, lectures about different countries, we offer German courses, um, computer courses [computer courses] . I come to the office every day to receive people who have problems. To read their letters, also to write the letters they need.  In case of difficulties, I accompany them so that they can meet lawyers, and so on.

What made you personally decide to start the association with other people?  What was your motivation, personally, as an African and also as a political refugee?

We were called upon to integrate, that is a wind that goes through the whole of Europe, to be integrated everywhere in Europe. To be integrated we would have to organise ourselves.  To be organised means that things should be structured.  We had therefore founded this association in Bochum and we wanted to be able to register it, with the court, through the notary.  In order to facilitate the integration, we look after and advise the people. And even in the city where I work, with the integration office of the city.

Do you also have contacts with other organisations here in Germany, if it is possible with other organisations in Africa?

[r] Yes! Sure, in Africa there are people who represent us.  Here in Germany we have because we are [-?] […] We have contacts with organisations like AWO [Arbeiterwohlfahrt] , IFAK [Multikulturelle Kinder- und Jugendhilfe] , DARF [Deutsch Afrika Ruhr Forum] , Planet Afrika, umm, and many others.

[i] Do you have personal ideas for the future here in Germany, for your life or your membership in the association in general?

I will continue my work because we have been asked to integrate. First of all for the recognition of the people who have come into contact with us and also for the achievements that we lead. That’s why people want us to go on. So if we don’t go on, it’s really like we’re morally killing people. We have an office at Neustraße 3. The house belongs to everyone, that is our seat.  Every person who has difficulties, who has a letter, who has any problems, can always come here.  So we help them, we also help those who don’t come here. Some call to ask about our services. Some ask for assistance, for help in finding accommodation, or for assistance to the employment office. There are our tasks.  If I cannot go on, then I will contribute to the suffering of every new foreigner who comes here. That will not be good.

[i] You live in Bochum-Wattenscheid, what contacts do you have with your neighbours or with other residents of Wattenscheid?

I have very good contacts with all my neighbours and with all the inhabitants of Wattenscheid, where I live.  I feel good.

[i] Do you like the city of Wattenscheid or how do you find it?

[r] Yes! I like it.

[i] Well, we are in Bochum-Mitte, your office is also in Bochum-Mitte.  Are you welcome here in the city centre?

[r] Yes! Yes, if it didn’t exist […] If we weren’t welcome, we wouldn’t have an office here in the middle. The office was given to us. So we’re in the middle of town, with the population, and I don’t see us having a problem. It’s good. We are welcome.

[i] Do you have an object from your home?  You came from the Congo. You are Congolese from Congo Kinshasa, do you have an object that can remind you of your homeland or when you came here?  Did you take anything with you that reminds you of your homeland? [a phone rings]

[r] Okay, okay, um, I didn’t bring anything from my country unless I don’t have it anymore, my old photos, I don’t have them anymore.  But here where we are, I see a lot of things that remind me of my country.  There are the drums, we have a drum group within the Bosangani club. The drum is a musical instrument, typically African. I always had it with me. It is also something that reminds me of Africa.

[i] Now the technology is well developed. We have many opportunities to keep in touch with our families, with our friends in Africa.  How are the dealings with your family in Africa now?

I call you by phone, I write [with them] by Internet, with those who own your computer.

To conclude, what message do you have to the people, to the people who will listen to you, through this video, through this message, about the lives of refugees who are here or who are in Europe, or who are all over the world?  People who have fled their countries to live elsewhere.

I will underline three points:  I ask them to be patient, as I said at the beginning, I also ask them to be courageous, and thirdly, as the name of our association “Bosangani” means “living together” in French [Lingala?] . So I ask them, all people who have the possibility, if they have difficulties, then they come to us to share them with us.  Which is also the problem.  Because they say, “Unity makes us strong.

And the people who receive refugees, the people who have to receive refugees, what kind of message can you give them? Because all these refugees fleeing from their countries will be elsewhere in foreign countries, in the hands of organizations, governments? What message could you give to these governments, to these organizations that receive refugees?

I would ask them to be impartial, not to consider the races.  I would still ask them not to think that […] In general, when you see a foreigner, you always see the suffering. But it’s not because there are people who left their homeland because of the biggest […] who have the biggest problem, politically […] Even if it wasn’t a political problem, it could also be an economic problem, if a person has nothing where he can sleep well, where he can find food, even then he can escape. You can say: I go where I can live better. We have found the war that […] causes people’s suffering.  People get killed, people leave their homes because they have the opportunity and you come and you confiscate their city to take [the] good away from them.  And these people are in trouble and they leave their homeland to go somewhere else. For example, I see the people from Syria who are there and the war has lasted many years. In Congo people die every day.  If all these people had no problems with themselves, if the countries from which they come were stable, then these people would not come.  So I would demand that those responsible for the asylum organisations in the receiving countries, where these people go, first put away the sense of separation.  They should be impartial, tolerent and patient. They should understand that every person is called to live in the norm of life.

[i] What message can you give to the people of Bochum when it comes to the refugees who are now coming.  How should they behave?  I only mentioned the population of Bochum, but that could be the Germans and also Africans, the Arabs. How should their behaviour be towards the refugees who are now coming in large numbers?

I will ask them to be patient first, as I said, because when they come, they must first find the conditions they found here [-?] .  Because they have the good fortune to be received first. They must show that they […] respect the material goods that are made available to them. All the laws they have found in the country or in the reception areas are to be respected.  So they shouldn’t […] change the mentality they had, adapt to the life of the recording country. The Africans, the Arabs, maybe the Syrians, all this group should adapt in the life they have found in their countries of re-naming.

This is for the people who have come new. But the people who receive them, the people from Bochum who receive the refugees.

I will encourage them to be impartial, as I said, to be patient, to be tolerant, and not really very aggressive, because the people who come already have psychological problems, which they experienced during their expulsion.  They need to know how to deal with psychology with these people. They need to talk to these people with love, but not with aggressiveness, as we often show.

[i] If you have the opportunity to advise politicians because they make laws.  African politicians I mean, what could you say them as a message, in relation to the situation we live in, where many people have to flee from their countries to live somewhere else as fugitives? What message could you send to authorities, to African leaders, especially to politicians?

I would encourage them, as they come here, to see how people are organized here, I would continue to ask them … to remove the spirit of individualism, to create organization in the country, to create structure in the place so that people could live better with them.  They should also give freedom of expression to people. So that they can understand…  Because if someone can express himself, he can tell you what he thinks inside. If you block him, you punish him.  He will be afraid so that he cannot express himself. So they should change their mentality, create organization that allows freedom of expression to the population,

Mr [name] , I have no more questions, if you have a message to give, in relation to the interview we did, in relation to the German society, in relation to the international society, then you can do that please now.

I think we talked about almost everything, I talked about Europe in general, I talked about Bochum, I can only ask one question [give answers to questions?] to the people who allowed me to do this interview.  I’m ready, at the moment the thing would expand, if they still need to ask questions, then I’ll be ready to answer.

[i] Thank you for your availability and I wish you good luck.  Goodbye.

[r] Thank you very much.