Interview about decolonizing Streets, literature and history

What is the role of Potsdam in your novel?

One crucial scene of the novel is set in Potsdam. I don’t want to spoil too much here…

One question that accompanies Tue is where her Blackness comes from. At one point, she learns that she is related to Achmed. Achmed is a real person, he was the first Black German whose name and portrayals we know. He was displaced – just as many other People of Color serving at court – by order of Prince Carl Alexander of Prussia. Whether Achmed is the name his parents gave him is unknown, but it is known that he lived in Schloss Glienicke, the castle by the lake Griebnitzsee in Potsdam. Among the golden lions and other relics that the Prince brought home from his travels to other cultures, Achmed was just another exoticized ‘souvenir’. Until today, the most human picture of him can be found in the castle. Until today it costs quite a lot of money to see this representation of Achmed. This is a continuity that affects me – in a negative way. Therefore, two of the protagonists in my book decide to help Achmed – they have the courage that I lack. *laughs*

Potsdam and the culture of forcefully displacing Black people is a symbol for the rootlessness caused by white people until today.

Read the complete Interview in Potsdam decolonial