Kenyan’s Story: From Orphaned Underage Asylum Seeker to Activist

Mimi Berlin
Mimi from Berlin

She was barely sixteen when she moved to Germany in the early 1990s and became an asylum seeker. As an orphan she lived in a foster care home before being placed with a foster family. “Life is already hard as an orphan, worse still is when you’re an African orphan in Germany”.

Mimi, as she would like to be referred to, didn’t have the easiest childhood not back in Kenya nor here in Germany. A part of her life she rarely wants to remember nor want to talk about. Just the thought of it gets her goose bumps on her body.

Now as a permanent resident in Germany, she refuses to apply for German citizenship. “The dignity of man is inviolable – that is a lie. I do not want to belong to such a system. Slavery and colonialism aren’t history, they are deeply rooted (in this system)”.

Recently during the protests in Berlin, she moved from her home to live on the streets in tents with the asylum seekers who were protesting: one because she and other neighbours were forcefully evicted from their apartments and also as a sign of solidarity to the asylum seekers.

She’s become an activist of some sort, demands that the European countries handle asylum seekers with more respect and humanity. She believes most European countries are directly to blame for the asylum seekers leaving their homes either due to poverty brought about by over exploitation of these countries or due to insecurity brought about by wars that break out and are perpetuated using weapons from Europe.

Mimi is determined to change the situation of the asylum seekers. She accepts that at least there has been some sort of progress with asylum seekers being invited to talks with some of the politicians in Berlin, this she compares to women not being able to vote fifty years ago. Slowly but surely, the living situation shall change.


UPDATE:  The information shared above was from an interview Mimi gave the TAZ in Berlin. Below is a recorded interview, she gave around the same time. I hope it clears up some of the questions that came up after her passing.


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