Adetoun Kueppers‐Adebisi

Adetoun Kueppers‐Adebisi

Adetoun Adebisi

Adetoun Adebisi

The Black community in Germany is growing and so is the number of highly qualified African descendants actively participating in shaping the future of the black community within and outside of Germany. One of these skilled, dynamic Africans is Adetoun Adebisi. The following portrait is the result of an interview Afritopic conducted with Adetoun.

The Information Technology sector is no more a domain reserved for men alone. This is very true particularly in the industrialized countries. In these countries, women have been working and demonstrating their expertise in various technological sectors. Comparing the industrialized nations to developing countries in Africa, the media talk of the technology/digital divide. But Africans, despite all the difficulties facing the continent, are not ready to loose the race. In fact, the African women are keeping abreast the latest information technological development as their men counterparts. Adetoun Adebisi, the Nigerian-born graduate of Wirtschaftsingenieur (business economist/industrial engineer) belongs to this group of women.

Adetoun Adebisi came to Germany from Nigeria with her mother as a teenager, speaking only her mother tongue, the Yoruba language. She attended the German language school, followed by an assessment, which classified her as good enough to start with the German Hauptschule (junior high school). After only six months, she was withdrawn from the school and advised to attend the Realschule (lower high school). Adetoun moved from the Realschule to Gynasium (high school), where she later passed the Arbitur (High School/Advanced Levels Certificate). With the Arbitur, she could apply to study at a University. She opted to attend the Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsschule (Business Economics and Administration school), for a training and qualification as Wirtschaftsassistentin (business economics assistant). On completing the training, she decided to have an advanced understanding of economics and information technology. She applied to the Fachhochschule  Mannheim and was offered a place to study Wirtschaftingenieurwessen (business economics/industrial engineering).

At the University, Toun encountered a series of insulting and discriminating attitudes from one of the professors. The situation became unbearable, but she did not allow racism to debar her from achieving her goals. She transferred to the Technical University Cologne, where she successfully completed her studies with very good grade. The topic of her thesis Die betriebswirtschaftliche  Nuetzung von Unternehmensportale unter Beruechsichtigung der Wissensmanagement Aspekte (The Economical Application of Corporate Portals taking the Knowledge Management Aspects into consideration) indicates Adetoun’s foresight for upcoming developments in the information technology sector. The thesis analyzes the various ways companies could implement information and commercial portals cost-effectively, while taking the novel concept of knowledge management into consideration. The basic concept of knowledge management allows organizations to identify the knowledge/know-how possessed by the organization/employees, store the knowledge, share/retrieve the knowledge and create/acquire new knowledge when necessary in order to gain market advantage over competitors. The concept of knowledge management is a continuous process that is supposed to be part of the organization’s culture with the goal of keeping the organization at the top in its business/service field.

Adetoun has been actively involved in different projects, where she has applied her technological and organization skills. An example of such projects is the organization of the Black Media Congress 2003 in Berlin, which provided a networking platform for Black professionals in various fields within and ouside of Germany. In this project, she worked as a team member of cyberNomads together with the teams from other organizations such as the Initiative Schwarze Deutsche(ISD) to make the project a success. She has been working closely with cyberNomads, an agency founded by her fiancee, Sun Leegba Love, and Abdel Rahman Satti. As a member of the team, she helped implement a content management system (CMS), which is to serve as an e-knowledge platform for the Black/Afro-German history.

Practicing the principles of knowledge management, Adetoun is ever ready to share her knowledge with others. According to her, cyberNomads has acquired several gigabytes of content, in particular Afro-centric contents. With adequate financial support, she could organize seminars to teach people how to upload contents into the CMS. This is extremely necessary to keep the system alive and useful to the public.

The current projects of cyberNomads are also of great interest to Adetoun. These include the First Black German International Literary Prize (the May Ayim Award), the Black Atlantic Project as well as the next Black Media Congress. Talking about the projects, Adetoun explains the importance of each project for Blacks and the German society in general. According to her, one of the high-profile organizations in Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of Cultures of the World) approached cyberNomads and offered the agency cooperation partnership for the projects. The May Ayim Award is organized in recognition of the extra-ordinary groundwork and achievement of the Afro-German activist and author, May Ayim, who fought against discrimination, racism and for black-empowerment in Germany. The Black Atlantic project is conceptualized from the Book The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1992) by Paul Gilroy, a professor of sociology and cultural studies. The project deals with African Diaspora from the transnational perspective.

Simply put, the transnational movements of Blacks resulted in a dynamic cultural network. The project thus employs this dynamic network, as the basis for the events, which would include visual arts, movies, theater, literature, conferences and dance programs. By taking part in such complex projects, Adetoun has gained an insight into project development processes and event management in a high-profile organization. ‘I have acquired project and event management skills that I would like to apply in various fields including the media’, she says.The mainstream media is one the target area of work for Adetoun. She has already taken the first step and made contacts to RTL and ZDF. In her opinion, it is important that people of African descent make a breakthrough to the mainstream media.

The issue of the Black movement in Germany is high on Adetoun’s agenda of activities. ‘I started several years ago approaching people on the streets and distributing information materials about the Black/Afro-German awareness’, she says. These activities led her to forming an organization called Evidence of Conscience (EOC) in Mannheim. Adetoun is deeply interested in promoting African culture in Europe. She organizes seminars and workshops that are intended to introduce African cultures as practiced by people of African descent in the Diaspora. An example of such cultural seminars/workshops is the celebration of Kwanzaa. According to Adetoun, Kwanzaa was adapted from the original African celebration by an African-American, Dr. Maluana Karenga, in 1966. The name is derived from the Zwahili word Kwanza with an additional ‘a’.  Kwanza means fruits, thereby denoting Kwanzaa as celebration with fruits and relating it to the traditional harvest celebrations of agricultural Africans. The purpose of the celebration is to give African-Americans a sense of identity, purpose and direction through the cultural link to Africa. Despite her numerous engagements in various projects, Adetoun continues to promote the African culture wherever he could and like Dr. Karenga, she believes that the cultural component is of vital importance in the Black movement.

Afritopic 2003


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