SYNOPSIS by AMMA DARKO
It is post war Germany, in
the nineteen sixties. The paths of a pretty, blond young German woman,
Ursula Reitz and that of a much older African man from Ghana, Jofri
Teiko, cross at a Textiles Institute in the small German town of
Lauterbach. Against all odds, they fall in love.
Before meeting Jofri,
Ursula’s only close encounter with a Black man had been with a Black
American soldier after the war. She had been only four years old then.
Textiles Technology had also not been what Ursula wanted to study
initially. Circumstances had caused her to miss the study of her first
choice, which had been Scientific Librarianship. These combined events
and coincidences convinced Ursula that she and Jofri were destined to be
together. For her, it had been love at first sight.
Jofri’s journey to Germany
began with the establishment of the Goethe Institute in Ghana’s capital
Accra. It opened the way for Ghanaians to travel to and study in then
West Germany. Jofri was one of the lucky few early Ghanaians granted
scholarships to study an industry related course in Germany (West).
Both Jofri and Ursula each
entered the relationship with a baggage.
Ursula was born during the
war, an unplanned and unexpected pregnancy. She had difficult relations
with her father. Her mother was supportive but Ursula had to learn at an
early age to survive on her own.
Jofri’s baggage was more
complicating. He was deeply superstitious. The circumstances of his
birth, his family roots and history and his early childhood experiences
are all entrenched in superstition. Still a child, he was later adopted
by a Presbyterian Missionary couple and brought up in the Christian
faith. The manifestation of a clash of his spiritual turmoil and
confusion was just a matter of time.
Jofri and Ursula marry
after their studies. They come to live in Ghana. They bring forth twin
This is fiction partially
inspired by a true story. The scenes play between Ghana and Germany,
from during WW2 through Ghana’s colonial history to her independence and
by virtue of their twin girls, being a ‘half-caste’ in both Ghana and
Against the backdrop of the
main story are also the historical links between Ghana and Germany. For
instance, the story of Lufthansa Airlines in Ghana and the invitation of
the female pilot Hannah Reitsch, to Ghana, by Ghana’s President Kwame
Nkrumah. There is also, the Auschwitz doctor Horst Schumann, who escaped
prosecution after the war. He settled in Ghana and devoted his life to
caring for and giving free medical attention to the poor. Finally, Anton
Wilhelm Amo, whose name Jofri adopts.
There are doses of humor
too. How for instance does a pretty, blond daughter in the nineteen
sixties break the news to especially the father that the man she had
fallen in love with and wants to marry is African?
The story begins with an
old and long retired Jofri's involvement in a car accident. Our
introduction to Ursula is in the apartment of one of their twin
daughters. The twins, Ania and Nadia have been living in Germany for the
past two decades with their mother Ursula. They lived their first eleven
years with their father Jofri in Ghana. Ania is packing for her first
trip back to Ghana in about two decades. It is in response to the
request and desperate plea of a dying and spiritually embattled Jofri.
With every little energy left in him Jofri awaits the arrival of Ania to
look into her eyes and to hand her an envelope with a newspaper clipping
of a young Ursula almost thirty years ago.