An African who would like to live happily and succeed professionally in Germany should make enough efforts to learn German. “No one can ever survive in Germany without learning the language,” says Terry Chocolat, a Kenyan TV and Radio presenter based in Hamburg.
“Immigrants who live in Germany but don’t speak German are having it rough when it comes to communicating, finding jobs, explaining themselves in cases of problems and even dealing with Immigration Officers,” she says.
Terry Chocolat observes that while a good number of Africans in Germany actively learn the language, there are some who don’t put in enough efforts.
They only limit themselves to learning the basics, especially the spoken German “but are afraid of going into it intensively in order to secure places at the University or such like opportunities,” she says.
Apart from the language barrier, it is very difficult for many Africans who have come to Germany to find professional jobs because their educational certificates are not recognised. “This leaves many immigrants frustrated,” Terry Chocolat says.
Having lived in Germany for more than ten years, Terry Chocolat has noticed that at times Africans simply don’t get the jobs they deserve because they themselves undermine their capabilities.
“Very few immigrants from Africa go for it. Go getters are very scarce,” she says. “Africans mostly reduce themselves to having to do those jobs that the first world citizens aren’t interested in.”
Terry Chocolat is convinced Africans here can be very successful by pursuing their dreams without fear. That’s why she has this message for them: “Listen to your heart, apply without fear, try, try, try, if the Lord is before you, no one can be against you. Chase your dreams, turn them into reality, prove your under miners wrong”.
Terry Chocolat whose real name is Terry Atieno, went to Ng’iya Girls High School in Siaya County before proceeding to Maseno University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Mass Media.
She is happy to be in Germany and considers it a blessing. “It was meant to be. That was God’s plan for me. I was meant to be here,” she says.
The avid presenter is the first ever media personality to produce a radio programme that’s broadcast worldwide from the heart of Europe in Luo which is one of the 43 languages spoken in Kenya.
In December 2015, she launched the weekly programme titled Furahiday on African Heritage Radio in Hamburg.
“Furahiday is about making at least one day in the week a happy day for all Kenyans around the world. With Furahiday I try my best to make the Kenyans in the Diaspora feel at home or rather feel like they are home in Kenya,” Terry says. The programme features Kenyan news and music. It also addresses hot issues affecting the Kenyan society back home and abroad.
What started as a Luo radio programme has now ended up becoming a multilingual programme incorporating English, German, Swahili and Sheng’ (a Kenyan urban slang).
A proud Terry decided to transform it into a multilingual programme after realising that many Kenyans, Africans from other countries and some Germans were tuning in because they loved the music that she was playing. “It really didn’t matter to them that they didn’t understand anything when I spoke,” she recalls.
As a way of interacting with her audience, Terry Chocolat has turned her programme into a live-stream broadcast. You can watch her live-stream broadcast every Friday from her website or Facebook profile.
The amazing Kenyan in Germany loves music and only plays the music she enjoys. In fact, it is amazing to see the way she dances in the studio during her shows.
Live Streaming has made her audience grow steadily. “I am a happy girl living her dream,” she says.
Before coming to Germany Terry Chocolat was already a passionate TV/Radio personality. During her university studies in Kenya, she was an intern at the Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation (KBC) for a whole year.
She assisted in the production of local TV programmes like Vioja Mahakamani, Vitimbi, Vituko, Reflections, Joy Bringers, etc. She also acted on Vioja Mahakamani by playing Ondiek’s daughter. She was one of the voices behind Happy Birthday Wishes on KBC.
She also did live radio production and presentation of many programmes at Royal Media’s Ramogi FM for a while before coming to Germany.
She has experienced racism a couple of times in the past, especially during her early days in Germany.
“The first occasion was in a bus,” she recalls. “I stood up from my seat for an elderly woman since the bus was full and I had my seat right next to the entrance. She was so old, maybe in her 80’s. She ignored me, stood and two stops away, sat on someone else’s space as the person (a Caucasian) alighted. I felt so stupid.”
The second time she experienced racism was while travelling by train. “The train passenger ticket controllers boarded the train, stopped, glanced left and right in the cabin and headed straight to where dark skinned people were seated. Unfortunately for them, all the dark skinned had valid tickets while a group of white young boys seating next to us had none. They felt really embarrassed leaving our faces with broad smiles,” Terry says.
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