BOCS Homepage

Newsletter of Kairos Jeunesse - 5th Anniversary Edition 1997



  • 5 Years of the 500 Years
  • It is happening here
  • Pourquoi un piece de theatre
  • Feature Articles
  • Highlights and Photos - 5 Years
  • The Campaign for Africa
  • The encounter with SHEBA
  • "Crossbreed" / Le Metissage

    "5 YEARS OF THE 500 YEARS"

    5 years of creating a space for minority and migrant youth groups in

    In 1498 Vasco Da Gama succeeded in circumnavigating the Cape of Good
    Hope, a symbolic affirmation of European conquest and domination of
    the continent of Africa. On the 27th of May 1498 he arrived at the
    port of Calicut on the cost of India marking the beginning of
    European conquest and domination of Asia.

    Our friends in Asia are, marking this occasion with a Youth March
    with the theme; 'Revisiting 500 years of History'. For both Africa
    and Asia 1998 is certainly a good occasion to call for a relationship
    of equals with Europe after over 500 years of Subservient

    This is yet another Kairos moment for Europe, this is the time to set
    credible signs of equality, justice and hope among humanity. This is
    an opportunity to call on Europe for justice - 'a Europe for

    The last five years have been very trying years of transforming the
    Kairos Youth idea into a concrete space for young people. Now Kairos
    Jeunesse is a coalition of some small and medium size groups and
    organisation working with young migrants and minorities in over 9
    European countries.

    It has become a space for exchanging experiences and ideas. It has
    provided for many a platform to express their cultural heritage, an
    occasion for cultural interaction. For others it has been an opening
    for training and education, an opportunity to be empowered and to
    actively participate in the solution-seeking process at the European

    When it comes to looking for solutions to such problems like
    integration and cultural identity, drugs and crime, unemployment and
    youth delinquency, racism and xenophobia, the 'migrant' youth is once
    again excluded. Thought an indisputable part of the problem very
    little is done to consider their opinion nor their interest in the
    quest for solutions. Probably, and most probably they hold the key to
    solving most of these problems.

    Unfortunately in the few cases where space has been created, there
    are strings attached: They lacked the needed independence and open
    atmosphere to creatively address any of the aforementioned issues.
    There, one has no option but to grapple with the legacies of national
    and religious conflicts, outmoded stereotypes and prejudices, thus
    leaving hardly any time for creative initiatives.

    Many of our activities assisted participants to overcome their
    apathy and motivated them to play more active roles in the process of
    social transformation. The sheer magnitude of the problems they
    encountered often discouraged them from doing a thing. However
    opportunities to exchange experiences as well as plan common
    activities, motivated and built their self-confidence.

    The Right to freedom-of-movement became a reality for many who took
    part in our international activities. Kairos Jeunesse was able to
    assist participants to over come the economic and political barriers
    that made it almost impossible for many of the young people to move
    from one European city to the other. It enabled participants to
    socialise across local and national boundaries and gave some the only
    opportunity to visit relatives, friends and loved-ones.
    Unfortunately, it is also in this sphere that we came face to face
    with the ugly face of institutionalised racism.

    Financial constrains still remains the main handicap in running the
    co-ordination office in Brussels which has become the vanguard of
    process. Thanks to the bold effort of a Brussels based initiative -
    «The Daughters of the Black Continent», the office shall continue to
    operate into the 21st century. It is no coincident that Kairos
    Jeunesse shall be undertaking a number of activities to mark the
    United Nations' Year for Africa in 1998.

    The Kairos Jeunesse process owes its success to the financial and
    technical support of the World Council of Churches, the Council of
    Europe's European Youth Foundation and the European Union's Youth for
    Europe Programme, to whom we say a big thank you. Of course without
    the selfless contributions of Susanne, Paul, Luc, Mark, Theresa,
    Virginia, Nancy, Alan, Aliye, Chris, Pedro, Ahmed, Annalisa, Claudia,
    Carmen, Carlien, Mustafa, Thomas, Ali, Pascal, Amie, Faisal...(to
    name but a handful) we would hardly have come this far with the

    We wish the new generation that has taken up the challeng to continue
    with the process into the year 2000, all the blessings and the very
    best of luck. There are already some signs of hope. They shall not be
    alone; the EU Migrants Forum has finally joined ranks and created at
    the Europen level a space for 'migrant' youth groups... a BIG step

    Jacqueline Ngoya

    The flavour of the moment is a COMEDY, an African version of the
    famous Cinderella. As you may all know , the year 1998 has been
    declared the INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR AFRICA by the UN, so we "the
    Daughters of the Black Continent" have decided over here to honour
    that year with a dazzling play which we will be performing all over
    in Belgium!

    You might ask yourself: "Why Cinderella?". Well..., why not
    actually! You all know the story of Cinderella just imagine what it
    would be like nowadays in an Afro-European context. The play has
    been rewritten by 2 black females, members of Kairos. The aim of the
    play is to try to break the barriers of racism, the principal factor
    being ignorance. The play will be showing some cultural heritage of
    Africa - traditional dresses, certain slangs used by young people,
    music and more - all of this in a entertaining and relaxing way.
    This is a good opportunity to share in some African creativity.

    The play will also allow young people, non-professional actors in
    most cases to have a first insight in the magical world of the
    theatre. We hope they will enjoy a new and enriching experience,
    expressing their cultural inheritance and that some might open
    their mind to the prospect of a new career.

    Various human faults; such as jealousy, envy, deceit... will be
    addressed so would such qualities like kindness, bravery, loyalty...
    The audiance will appreciate a moral lesson and at the same time,
    especially for non-Africans, discover and understand the African
    perception and hopfully stop the stereotyping and prejudices. We
    hope to show the audiance how young people of African descent can
    take initiatives and are willing to mingle in a multicultural

    Well, it looks like we are going to be very busy over here! The play
    will be performed in French and will start at the end of April 1998.
    You are of course all welcome to the performances !!!

    Miriam Depasse

    Cette année, nous avons décidé d'inclure dans nos projets, la
    réalisation d'une pièce de théâtre. L'histoire est une nouvelle
    version du célèbre conte de fées de Cendrillon. Quelle aurait été
    l'histoire de Cendrillon si elle avait vécu à cette époque dans un
    pays imaginaire mélangeant les cultures africaines et européennes?

    Cette pièce tend à briser les barrières du racisme, en ce sens que
    nous attendons un public très diversifié qui pourra apprécier tous
    les aspects culturels de l'Afrique, que ce soit dans les vêtements
    traditionnels, le langage ou encore la musique, éléments qui seront
    fort représentés dans cette pièce, de façon relaxante et amusante.
    Cette image positive, différente et valorisante de l'africain aidera
    aussi à combattre les différents préjugés et surtout cet horrible mot
    qu'est le racisme.

    La plupart du temps, la crise d'identité à laquelle l'afro-européen
    fait face se traduit par des actes de violence. C'est pourquoi nous
    voulons changer cela en poussant les jeunes à utiliser d'autres
    moyens, notamment artistiques, afin de faire passer leurs messages.
    Cette idée de vouloir éduquer le public sur l'héritage africain par
    le biais du théâtre est assez nouvelle et nous espérons que ce moyen
    de sensibilisation montrera une image positive de l'africain dans la
    communauté multiculturelle dans laquelle nous vivons. L'objectif de
    cette pièce de théâtre sera également de sensibiliser les comunautés
    sur les différents problèmes auxquels peuvent faire face beaucoup
    d'africains dans le monde.

    L'année 1998 a été décretée "Année Internationale de l'Afrique" par
    les Nations Unies. En effet, il y a 500 ans, le navigateur
    portugais, Vasco da Gama réussit à faire le tour du Cap de Bonne
    Espérance et depuis lors, la relation entre l'Europe et le continent
    africain ne fut rien d'autre qu'une perpétuelle exploitation et
    subordination. Cela n'aida pas à évaluer à sa juste valeur l'image
    de l'africain. Nous profiterons donc de cette occasion pour montrer
    d'une part, que les Africains peuvent être créatifs et que la culture
    contribue à la création d'une Afrique nouvelle. Et d'autre part
    souligner les problèmes concernant le développement du continent
    africain et de l'africain lui-même, sans oublier de mentionner dans
    l'agenda européen, le rôle des afro-européens.

    Montrer que les jeunes d'aujourd'hui sont capables de prendre des
    initiatives et qu'ils désirent également prendre part à l'émergence
    de la société multiculturelle de demain.

    Donner une autre image, offrir une autre perspective du peuple
    africain et ainsi mettre fin à tous les préjugés auxquels celui-ci
    doit faire face.

    Permettre à des jeunes africains de s'exprimer à travers le théâtre.
    La parole sera donnée à des amateurs qui ont une réelle passion pour
    le théâtre.

    Véhiculer un message de paix et de tolérance dans un monde où racisme
    et xénophobie constituent un danger quotidien pour les générations

    Fournir une image plus positive de la femme africaine et être un
    modèle pour les générations à venir.

    Avec ce projet théâtral, nous espérons fournir un espace qui pourrait
    permettre aux jeunes de tout horizon vivant dans une Europe
    multiculturelle de se rencontrer, d'échanger des expériences et aussi
    d'être ouverts à l'héritage de la culture africaine.

    Miriam Depasse

    L'image du Noir dans la publicité

    Fonctionnant comme un révélateur de la société qui la produit, la
    publicité se nourrit de l'imaginaire du consommateur. Depuis que la
    création publicitaire existe, elle met en scène le personnage noir,
    mais sans prédilection majeure. Pourtant celui-ci apparaîtra très
    tôt comme un réservoir de fantasmes dans lequel celle-ci va puiser.
    La représentation publicitaire a une fonction précise, créer le
    désir d'achat parmi les consommateurs. Le personnage noir sait-il
    suciter ce désir, comment le fait-il, existe-il une autonomie de la
    représentation publicitaire par rapport aux autres systèmes de
    représentation de ce personnage ? Les publicités sont des documents
    complexes à analyser de par la complexité des cadres de la stratégie
    publicitaires qui, au niveau de l'image, mêle réél et fiction, un
    produit et un scénario qui vise à suciter la consommation. Ainsi ces
    supports nous permettent de constater à une époque et un espace
    donné, les images les plus expressives de la société qui les produit
    et les regarde, mais perverties par une mise en scène, elles ne sont
    sûrement pas son expression exacte.

    Publicités ommerciales
    Les publicités représentant des Noirs ne sont pas nombreuses, mais
    elles sont significatives des rapports entretenus entre Blanc et
    Noirs. L'emploi des Noirs dans la publicité date au moins du
    moyen-âge dans certains pays d' Europe ou la tête de ceux-ci
    servaient d' emblème aux brasseurs et aux auberges tout comme à la
    guilde des tailleurs

    Le tabac
    Le personnage Noir est utilisé pour vanter toute une catégorie de
    produits comme notamment le tabac. Le tabac a connu un essor au
    17ème siècle, le premier emblème utilisé pour ce produit fût un
    personnage négroïde, coiffé d'un chapeau de plumes et d'une jupe de
    feuilles de tabac. Ce personnage fût fortement utilisé en europe au
    17ème et aux Etats-Unis au 18ème. En Europe le Noir est représenté
    comme producteur, travailleur, serviteur ou comme élément décoratif,
    mais pas comme consommateur Le premier Noir à apparaître pour les
    publicités de cigares fût Sambo (bouffon, gredin) vers 1850 aux
    Etats-Unis. Le Noir est souvent représenté comme bouffon, alors que
    le dandy est plus souvent créole ou blanc. Mais petit à petit, les
    réclames pour le tabac ne mettront plus en scène le Noir
    travailleur, mais le Noir qui impose un nouveau style, et son avis
    de connaisseur ne pourra qu' être pris en considération. Surgit
    alors l'image du dandy Noir. En Europe et aux Etats-Unis, cela fût
    assez surprenant car, d'un côté le personnage Noir était parodié
    dans les "minstrel show" (de menestre: imitation blanche de la
    culture noire, parodie-satire dans les théâtres,...) mais de l'autre
    on l'utilise comme modèle pour les consommateurs Blancs. Cela
    s'explicait tout simplement par le fait que, suite à l'expansion du
    tabac, on cherchait à pénétrer de nouveaux marchés et on réalisait
    de nouveaux emblèmes. L'utilisation du dandy Noir à la mode et bien
    habillé pouvait servir d'emblème précisément parcequ'il était un
    modèle de succès peu probale. Depuis la seconde guerre mondiale, la
    publicité pour les cigares a diminué et le personnage Noir a disparu
    des emballages.

    Rhum, chocolat, café, cacao
    Tous ces produits issus du labeur des esclaves sont devenus, à une
    époque, des produits de luxes. En effet, à l'origine, ces produits
    étaient accessibles aux classes sociales aisées (à l' exception de
    la boisson des marins: le rhum).

    Le rhum
    Au début du siècle, les étiquettes de bouteils de rhum représentent
    souvent des dockers Noirs transportant des tonneaux, mais aussi et
    surtout des jeunes filles créoles proposant ce breuvage. La marque
    "la negrita", littéralement la négresse a été déposée en 1886 et est
    probablement le plus ancien des personnage publicitaire français.

    Le café
    L'image d'un Noir dégustant une tasse de café a été utilisée en
    abondance par les publicitaires. Le nom de ce produit a souvent une
    connotation qui évoque le métissage: "café Kalonda", "café Malongo",
    "café Katuka", "Deutch brand Brazil",... Même de nos jours, un rôle
    dévolu à des non- blancs est celui de présentateur de ce type de
    boissons. C' est souvent une jeune femme métissée de type brézilien
    ou indianisée qui les proposent. La connotation de ces affiches est
    sensualité, détente et exotisme.

    à suivre.

    Black People In Advertisment

    Advertisment is the mirror of the society. Advetisments are difficult
    to analyse because it mixes reality and illusions, a product and a
    scenario which is aimed at consumption. Since the advent of
    advertisment Black people have been used but without major
    predilection. Advertisments with blacks are not legion but are
    significant of the relation between whites and Blacks. The use of
    Blacks in advertisment appeared in the Middle Ages in some Europe
    countries where their heads were used as emblems for inns and

    Black people were used to illustrate a lot of products as for
    instance tobacoc, rum, chocolate, coffee and cocoa. The first Black
    use in an advertisment for cigar was Sambo in 1850 in the United
    States. Blacks were usually used as "buffoon" and the dandy was a
    creole or a White. But little by little, the Black will become the
    dandy. This was strange because Black were parodyed in the "Minstrel
    shows" but on the other hand they were a model for consumption. At
    the beginning of the century Blacks were used in illustration on the
    labels of rum products. The labels often depict black dock workers
    carrying casks, and above all, Creaole beauties serving this
    to be cont.

    At Million Woman March,
    Focus Is On Family

    Philadelphia - on the 25th of October 25- hundreds of thousands of
    women converged in the center of Philadelphia for the Million Woman
    March, a rally promoted as a daylong celebration of family unit and
    of what it means to be a woman of african descent in America. The
    rally was organized by a small group of local women, led by Phile
    Chionesu, owner of an African crafts shop who has worked for years
    on community issues. She is not connected to national black
    organizations and was inexperienced in starting a mass rally. The
    march drew about 300,000 people, according to unofficial estimates
    by the Philadelphia Police Departement. Organizers said the number
    of people was as high as as 1.5 million. Early rain discouraged
    some from marching, but thousands of others ignored the rain to clog
    city streets on their walk to the Parkway. The rally brought
    together women from across the country listened to a long list of
    speakers addressing issues of repentance, resurrection and
    restoration. Unlike the million Man March, which featured a
    succession of prominent political and religious leaders as speakers,
    the women here heard largely from people who were little-known
    outside Philadelphia's urban neighborhoods. One of the notable
    exceptions, and one of the few men invited to participate, was
    representative John Conyers, democrat of Michigan. A veteran of past
    civil rights events, he struck a familiar notes in his short speech,
    saying:" We want justice in this country. That's why women are
    marching, not just for today but all their lives". Leona Smith,
    president of the National Union of Homeless, pleaded with the crowd:
    "This will all be in vain if you do not continue to organize and
    mobilize. This day will mean nothing". Other issues included a call
    for separate black public schools, more programs to help women
    leaving prison adjust to the outside world and new ways to help end

    albert gyan

    Kairos Jeunesse will be launching a campaign in 1998; calling on all
    parties to review their relationships with the African contintent
    and transform all identifiable subservient relationships into
    partnerships of equals. This is one of three projects by KJ to mark
    the United Nations' Year of Africa. The campaign shall exploit all
    the available means of communication - new and old - to get the
    message across to - both governmental and non-governmental

    "How far have things changed since the first Europeans sailed down to
    Africa to exploit the continent over 500 years ago? Is the situation
    any different today as almost all African countries have fought and
    won their independence? What has the continent gained in sending its
    sons and daughters into slavery to sweat and toil for industrial
    revolutions to happen. On what does it live today and feed the
    generations tomorrow, after its rich and arable soils have been
    exploited and polluted, its lands been mined and Mined, its waters
    been drained and dyed. How much more blood and human lives should be
    offered? Can anybody tell...? What good does such lamentation do, if
    not make as pause, reflect and start anew. We seek to initiate a
    partnership of equals, a process of change with an understanding of
    coexistence that gives as much as it takes and takes as much as it
    gives. The moment for change is certainly not tomorrow, that moment
    is now and now is ours for the taking."

    In connection with this campaign a consultation meeting of some
    representatives of African and European NGOs engaged with the issues
    of the north-south dichotomy is scheduled for March/April in Accra,
    Ghana. This is to provide a forum for exchanging experiences and
    ideas as well as evaluating the role of the non-governmental sector
    in changing the ever-exploitative relationship between the two

    The occasion of the meeting shall be used to formally launch the
    campaign, calling on all parties both governmental and
    non-governmental, profit and non-profit, to commemorate this occasion
    by reviewing their relationships with the African continent and
    consider concrete steps to replace any identifiable subservient
    relationships with partnerships of equals. The opportunity will also
    be used to synergise the efforts being made by various NGOs, Pressure
    Groups, Advocacy Desks, etc. to ensure an effective representation of
    the interest of the African continent in Europe, more especially in
    the political decision-making organs of the EU and its' members

    We are extending an invitation to all of you to join voices with us
    and let the voiceless be heard.

    Contact: e-mail:
    Kairos Website: http//

    Rugurika Christine

    "What gifts do we as black people of Europe have to give to Europe in
    the new millenium?" was the theme of the General Assembly of SHEBA,
    to which four members of the Kairos Jeunesse team participated.

    Who is SHEBA?
    SHEBA (South Hope in a Europe with (out) Barriers.) is an association
    of christians willing to accept people with different persuations,
    who wish to react to the racism. Though most of the members are
    black, what is really interesting about SHEBA is that they accept
    anyone who considers her-/himself as black on the basis of their own
    experience about racism because of their colour or race. the
    colonial past of their countries of origin their own conviction of
    themselves as being black. The age varied from 7 to 77 but with a
    majority of +35years people. I really think it was a very nice
    experience to gettogether with people form at least 3 different

    The General Assembly
    These were three exiciting days with people from Holland, UK,
    Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. This took place in Ede, Holland
    in a very warm and charming hotel - Belmont. The staff and the guests
    were very nice and all smiles.

    Day One:
    We arrived in Ede at 2.30 pm and were picked up by a van to Belmont
    Hotel. We checked in at the reception and after a little rest in our
    rooms, we went down to meet the other participants just arriving.
    After the supper 6 p.m., we gathered in the conference room for the
    first formal session. After SHEBA had been introducted, we all had
    the chance to introduce ourselves to the other members. Later I was
    so glad to learn that SHEBA was ready to co-operate with us (Kairos
    J.) in the future. The first session come to an end and it was time
    to go to sleep...Sleep? No! I don't think so! We stayed up
    downstairs and talked, talked and talked till...uhm...uhm...
    sometime after 2.00am.

    Day Two
    Wakening up that morning at 8.00am was very hard but the delicious
    breakfast put us back on our feet. The first meeting of the day was
    about how we, black people, can we be proud of our history and
    identity. The speaker showed us marvellous drawing of her daughters
    and horrible pictures of racism. We did a workshop on how to get more
    black men attract and to get together and create charities.

    In the 2nd workshop we broke up into generation groups. We dicussed
    such issues as integration, racism and what we as black people can do
    to improve our situation in Europe. After supper there was a
    reflection on the 2 themes presented during the day. Around 8.30pm
    there was a cultural evening where each group had to present a game,
    or a poem, or some jokes, anything to entertain: We then danced to
    ghani, soca music... and had lots of fun. A GREAT GREAT NIGHT!!!!!!!

    Day three
    Wakening up on the third day was harder than never. After breakfast,
    the financial problems and the general situation was explained to us.
    A summary of what we had discussed during these 2 days was also
    presented. After lunch there were the emotional goodbyes

    These were:
    3 days of good feelings!
    3 days of joy, learning, meeting people!
    3 days of prayers!
    Can you do all these things in 3 days?
    Now, I know I can.

    For more about SHEBA contact:
    Secretariat SHEBA, c/o Kerk en Wereld
    T.a.v. Doreen Hazel, P.O. Box 19, AA Driebergen

    Martine Vermaut

    Having both Congolese and Belgian parentage myself, I would like to
    share my thoughts about the situation of people being brought up by
    parents of different cultures in Belgium. What I know about the
    previous generation is that most of the marriages between black and
    white people, did not succeed very often because of cultural
    conflicts and misunderstandings and more so because neither partner
    really want to make concessions. Now, it seems to me that to be in a
    loving relationship with somebody from a different culture or ethnic
    background is a kind of fashionable in certain countries. Curiosity
    and/or admiration could be one of the reasons for this increase of
    mixed couples. A child of mixed parentage is very often faced with
    two different cultures, this can be both negative and positive:
    Negative, if each parent tends to impose on the child his of her own
    way of life. This is a big obstacle to mutual understanding.
    Positive, then child is exposed to get a lot of richness in food,
    history, tradition... With respect to the way of thinking it's the
    same; children will acquire both ways of thinking and they would be
    able to adapt easily to the both cultures. Most of time the child
    will be open-minded to other cultures. Most important of all, I
    think for anybody with two cultures and anyone else, it is important
    to know and to be proud of where one is coming from as well to be
    able to fit in these cultures even though he/she maybe more into one
    than the other.

    Je me permets d'écrire en connaissance de cause, car je suis
    moi-même issue d'un métissage afro-européen, à savoir belge et
    congolais. C'est donc la raison pour laquelle j'en parlerai puisque
    j'en ai une certaine expérience. A l'époque de nos parents,
    c'est-à-dire la génération avant nous, les mariages ne tenaient pas
    souvent, ceci est du notamment aux conflits entre les mentalités.
    Les femmes et les hommes étaient également moins ouverts les uns
    envers les autres, moins prêts à faire des concessions.
    Actuellement, on assiste à une montée incroyable de couples mixtes,
    au point que cela devienne même une sorte de mode dans certains
    pays. La curiosité et/ou l'admiration constitue une des raisons de
    l'ascension des couples mixtes. L'enfant métis est souvent confronté
    à deux cultures différentes, ce qui peut être négatif dans certains
    cas: dans le cas où chaque parent veut imposer son éducation pensant
    qu'elle est la meilleure. C'est un obstacle très important à leur
    entente mutuelle. L'enfant bénéficie également d'une grande richesse
    au niveau de la nourriture, des traditions, de l'histoire de ses
    origines...Au niveau des mentalités, il s'adaptera facilement aux
    deux cultures en fonction des circonstances. Mais je crois que le
    plus important est de pouvoir s'adapter aux deux cultures même si il
    y a un côté dans lequel on se sent le mieux. Ne pas rejeter ses
    origines, les accepter tout en étant fièr de ce que l'on est.

    Quarterly Newsletter of Kairos Jeunesse
    5th Anniversary Edition 1997
    Resp. Editor: Channel Depasse
    Editorial Team: Channel, Christine,
    Martine, Jacqueline & Albert

    Secretariat:Rue des Fabriques / Fabrieksstraat 64
    1000 Brussels, BELGIUM
    Tel./ Fax +32-2-512 01 92 /-512 64 51
    Kairos Website:


    Published with the support of the:
    European Youth Foundation (Council of Europe)