The Mic Movement
amplifying art in berlin & beyond


April 8, 2013

Those who arrive on the Wednesday…

Every year since the mid 80s for one long weekend in summer somewhere in Germany, a youth hostel turns Black. Already from the Wednesday evening, the first visitors arrive. They smile as they carry their suitcases up to their rooms. Usually exhausted from their long journey to the remote yet picturesque location. At the same time, they happily anticipate the next four days to come.

Those who arrive on the Wednesday are the dedicated ones. The activists who organise the yearly gathering, the activists’ children who secretly enjoy having been persuaded to attend, and those participants who simply do not want to miss one single second of it: the ISD Bundestreffen.

The Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (engl. Initiative of Black People in Germany), or ISD, is a registered charitable organisation that seeks to promote the empowerment, and represent the political interests, of Black people in Germany. The annual Bundestreffen (gathering), which typically happens at the end of July or beginning of August, is the highlight of the ISD calendar. The last few Bundestreffen have taken place in Helmarshausen in Hessen (just north of Kassel). The entire youth hostel is booked out and for four days Black people from all over Germany are invited to participate in workshops, organise seminars, listen to lectures, offer childrens activities, watch films or simply relax. Of course there are also plenary discussions, parties and BBQs, as well as long walks, table tennis and yoga classes. Bundestreffen is as multifaceted as its participants are; the programme is as ambitious as the activists who work in their various roles to make it happen.

BT Hamburg 2007 - 2The weekend officially begins on Thursday and ends on Sunday. The price includes accomodation, food and participation in all events and activities offered. Although the working language is officially German, all Black people – Germans or not – are welcome. You will often hear English being spoken at the breakfast buffet or French over dinner. People travel from all over Europe (indeed from further overseas also) to attend. The concept is to provide a safe space for all members of the African Diaspora. The organisers make considerable efforts to provide an inclusive space: meals for vegetarians and those who are lactose intolerant are typically on offer, families with more than two children are offered a price reduction and there is a women’s only sleeping area.

For more information please contact the ISD:

We look forward to welcoming you!

Key facts:

Bundestreffen 2013 will be from Thursday August. 1st to Sunday August 4th.

The address of the youth hostel is: Jugendherberge Helmarshausen, Gottsbürener Str. 34385 Bad Karlshafen

– Adults (18+ years): ISD members 105,00 € / Non-members 124,00 €
– Children & young people (12-17 years): 82,50 €
– First two children (3-11 years): 32,50 € each, each child thereafter free
– Children (0-2 years): free
– Payment on the door (cash or EC): plus 3,00 €

Please bring: musical instruments, books, music, films, football shoes, swimming outfits, party clothes and…an excellent mood!

About the Author

Sharon Dodua Otoo
Sharon is a Black British mother, activist, author and editor of the English language book series Witnessed published by edition assemblage. Her most recent publication is The Little Book of Big Visions. How to be an Artist and Revolutionise the World co-edited by curator and conceptual artist Sandrine Micossé-Aikins (edition assemblage, 2012). She is also on the board of the “Initiative of Black People in Germany” (Die Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland [ISD-Bund] e.V.) A translation of her short story: "The Circle and Square Story" was published as “Die Geschichte vom Kreis und Viereck” in Wie Rassismus aus Wörtern spricht. (K)Erben des Kolonialismus im Wissenschaftsarchiv deutsche Sprache, edited by Susan Arndt and Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard (UNRAST Verlag, 2011). Sharon's first novella the things i am thinking while smiling politely was published in February 2012 (edition assemblage). She lives, laughs and works in Berlin.


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