By Bakary Ceesay, in Germany
The new German federal parliament is more diverse than ever. For the first time, there are four Afro-German members in the Bundestag, as well as more women, young people and people with migrant backgrounds.
Three Afro-German politicians won direct mandates, which means they won the highest number of votes cast in their constituencies.
Germany based journalist Bakary Ceesay takes a look at these personalities reshaping the outlook of German politics.
Dr. Sylvie Nantcha, Chairperson of The African Network of Germany, wrote excitedly in a social media post: “Four Afro-Germans in the Bundestag! Their parents come from Senegal, Morocco, Cameroon and Eritrea. History is being made here! Germany is a country of diversity and opportunity! Diversity in politics! Diversity in the Bundestag! Our society is diverse! Our Bundestag is becoming more diverse! We are very happy about that!”
Meet the four Afro-German MPs:
Karamba Diaby- Top of the list is Dr Karamba Diaby who won a direct mandate in the eastern constituency of Halle (state of Saxony-Anhalt) on the platform of the SPD. It’s his third victory at a federal parliamentary election.
Senegalese-born Diaby has been a member of the Bundestag since 2013, when he and Charles Huber (CDU) were elected as the federal parliament’s first members of African descent, marking a watershed in the political history of Germany.
Born in Senegal in 1961, Diaby won a stipend to study in East Germany in 1985, where he studied chemistry and received a PhD in geo-ecology in Halle-Wittenberg.
Awet Tesfaiesus- Awet Tesfaiesus, a member of the Green Party, was also elected to represent the state of Hesse.
The 47-year-old lawyer was born in Eritrea. She came to Germany with her family when she was still a child. “It is a great honour to be the first Black woman in the Bundestag,” she says.
Awet Tesfaiesus has announced that she would advocate for equal opportunities and a better asylum law in the Bundestag.
The politician has been the spokesperson for integration and equality for the Green parliamentary group in the Kassel city parliament since 2016.
Ms Tesfaiesus says she would work hard for equal opportunities and a better asylum law as well as fight against racism and discrimination.
Armand Zorn- “As the candidate with the most first votes in constituency 182, I was elected as a directly-elected member of the German Bundestag,” Armand Zorn wrote on his Facebook page, proudly announcing his election on the platform of the SPD to represent Frankfurt (state of Hesse).
“This support and trust from so many voters touch and overwhelms me,” the Cameroon-born business consultant added.
The story of 33-year-old Zorn, who attended school in Cameroon until the seventh grade when he moved to Halle (Saale) in 2000 to join his parents will definitely motivate young Germans of African origin.
Zorn studied Political & Administrative Science, European Affairs, International Economics and Business Law at universities in Halle, Paris, Chongqing (China), Konstanz and Bologna.
The management consultant advises companies in their digital transformation programmes and in dealing with risks as well as in complying with legal regulations. He also works as a project manager in development cooperation and accompanies the introduction of sustainable business practices with the help of new technologies.
“I grew up in modest circumstances. However, I was always taught that with diligence and hard work you can realise your dreams. With the support of my parents and society, I succeeded in developing and realising my potential,” Zorn says.
Sanae Abdi- The SPD member won a direct mandate to represent one of the federal constituencies in Cologne (state of North Rhine-Westphalia) in the federal parliament.
Born 35 years ago in Morocco, she’s the daughter of a Moroccan mother and German father.
Sanae Abdi is committed to working for better opportunities for children irrespective of their social and cultural backgrounds/PhD.
Abdi studied law at the Philipps-University Marburg, the University of Bonn and the University of Cologne. She then worked as a research assistant in various law firms from 2013 to 2018. Since then, she has been working as a project manager at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
As a member of the Bundestag, Abdi would be “Cologne’s representative for social justice and consistent climate protection”. She would also work for equal opportunities especially for children irrespective of their social or cultural backgrounds.