“My father came to Amsterdam in 1990 where he married a Dutch woman. When I was eight I was reunited with him in the Netherlands. As a small boy I found Europe so exciting, and of course it was wonderful to be with my father again after such a long time. But what they didn’t tell me was that I would be living here. When I realised this I found it very hard, especially as I had to leave my grandmother, who had brought me up, behind in Togo. I’ve now lived in Amsterdam for more than twenty two years and am lucky enough to have three mothers: my biological mother, my grandmother who took me under her wing when I was young, and my Dutch mother, the former wife of my father, who raised me to adulthood.
I returned to Togo when I was twenty three. It was a wonderful trip which I will always remember with affection. It was only then that I realised what I had left behind for my new life. But I’m still very grateful that I was able to grow up here as a Togolese. It’s a very special place. Togo is the foundation of who I now am. The standards and values I carry with me, such as respecting others and caring for them, started there. Within the large family that surrounded me in my younger years I learnt how to get on with others. That if you are out of your home you behave as your family would expect you to behave. So I was a little shocked when, at eight years of age, my Amsterdam friends would speak to their parents in such a harsh way. This is unimaginable in African culture.
I currently work as a Financial Data Analyst and also organise African oriented events workshops. In the future I would love to set up a trade platform between Europe and Africa, bringing people together and combining capital, knowledge and know-how to support young entrepreneurs in sustainable trade between Africa and Europe.”
191 people in Amsterdam have the Togolese nationality.