A portrait of Muhammed

Muhammed arrived in Germany from The Gambia as an asylum seeker and despite the odds has built an admirable life in Berlin where he works as an activist helping undocumented migrants find their feet.

In this short film, we follow Muhammed’s efforts to continue fighting for human rights in his local community in Kreuzberg, Berlin. He does this through two main avenues – through a radio show, and his job as a social worker.

Muhammed and his friends started “We Are Born Free Empowerment Radio”, the first African-run radio station in Europe while they were still undocumented. It began with the drive to speak out against the marginalization of undocumented migrants in Berlin but it is now a staple and airs on the public radio in Berlin and neighbouring city, Potsdam.

This radio show is extremely unique because it is common knowledge that most undocumented male African migrants in Berlin have no other choice but to become drug peddlers for more serious criminals at Görlitzer ​Park.

The radio station is significant because it is located in a building under ten minutes walk from this Park. It serves as a hub where these young men can come together to socialize, organize and to empower themselves.

Muhammed, in his gentle, fun but seriously determined self, finds himself at the centre of all this. On the one hand, he is just a young man who wants to enjoy his life in Europe, learning to Skateboard and playing guitar, on the other hand, because of the colour of his skin and his social standing in society, he cannot afford not to fight for a fairer society.

Far from the sad migrant trope film, we see Muhammed singing, laughing, dancing, and spontaneously making music. He is not afraid of engaging with his local community. Although he has been through a lot, we learn about everything he has overcome in an uplifting way. Unlike other undocumented migrants who fear nothing more than being deported, and so are forced to live on the margins of society, Muhammed’s portrait makes a case for recognizing these lives and these stories.