Street in Berlin to be Named After Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai will be among six African legends that will have streets in Berlin named after them. This is in line with an initiative that will see streets named after German colonialists renamed to carry names of African heroes instead.

For the first time in decades, Berlin will have several street names changed. It’s expected that streets in Berlin Wedding, within the Afrikanische Viertel (African District) mainly those connected to Germany’s colonial past will be renamed to instead carry names of African personalities. After long deliberations, six names were agreed upon namely Yaa Asantewaa, Martin Dibobe, Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, Manga Bell, Miriam Makeba and Wangari Maathai. All of whom are best remembered for fighting against the colonialists and fighting for human rights on the continent.

Among the streets to be renamed are Adolf Lüderitz (founder of Germany’s first colony, the German South West Africa); Gustav Nachtigal (started the colonization of Togo and Cameroon) and Petersallee named after Carl Peters (co-founder of the German East Africa colony). The Tageszeitung however claims that the Petersallee had been renamed to instead celebrate Hans Peters, a man that fought against the NS-Regime.

Although this is a great starting point, there are currently more than a dozen streets around Berlin that carry names associated with racism or colonialism among them Mohrenstraße. Tagesspiegel had an article some time back trying to explain the triviality of the name Mohren, an issue that does not seem to have been accepted.

Other organisations for example the Initiative Pro Afrikanisches Viertel (IPAV) in Berlin was calling for the names of the street to remain but instead to change who they were named after e.g. the Lüderitzstraße to instead celebrate the city of Lüderitz in Namibia instead of Adolf Lüderitz.

The date of the official renaming of the streets is yet to be given.


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