Children of African immigrants who moved to Anatolia and Germany from different countries of the continent gathered together to celebrate their cultural heritage and boost solidarity in Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir.
The children of families who migrated from various African countries to Anatolia or Germany organized presentations, panels, trips and entertainment activities in the town of Aliağa in Izmir.
Nearly a hundred members of the Afro-Turks Culture, Assistance and Solidarity Association, Joliba – a Berlin-based intercultural network organization – and the Afro Young Community (AYOCO) of Germany participated in activities to cherish their shared history and cultural heritage.
Beyhan Türkkollu, Deputy Chairperson of the Afro-Turks Culture, Assistance and Solidarity Association, said the cultural meetings are held in Izmir every year – except in 2020 due to pandemic measures – with an aim to connect families with African origins.
She stated that the activities bring traditions back to life that are on the verge of extinction. "We would like to pass down this beauty, friendship and companionship to the next generations," Türkkollu said.
"We want to tell our stories to our children to last for generations."
AYOCO Chairperson Annette Kübler said the cultural meetings turned the group into a family. "This is extremely important for us. This meeting makes us very happy and benefits us greatly. Therefore, we try to come here every year," she added.
Samra Ayala, an Ethiopian-origin university student at Berlin's Alice Salomon University's Social Studies Department, said the Izmir meetings are a watershed moment in her life.
"I feel far stronger with the people with African origins in Turkey. I can tell that I have found my true identity here," Ayala remarked.