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Gervais Nombe


I only feel about 20% Danish, and 80% Congolise. I was born in the Congo, and lived there for only one year. I’ve lived in Denmark for 12 years, and I experience on a daily basis what it is like to be foreign. I’m forever being told by my friends they see me as a Dane, yet I never really feel Danish. I see myself as a refugee – and a proud one at that. It’s not because I don’t like Denmark, but if there wasn’t a war in my country, I would surely return home.

Our cultures are very different. The Congo is a very Christian country. When you greet people, especially the elderly, you hold one hand across the other symbolizing your respect for them. We have a lot of respect for other people, especially the elderly. In Africa you are all one big family. My family means a lot to me. For me, music and food from the Congo is better than the Danish, especially the music. That is to say, I do like Danish food, especially the food you get at Christmas, but dancing around the Christmas tree is weird, and Father Christmas, really, a complete stranger bringing gifts, is so weird too, and at christenings, boys and girls are both wearing a dress. And some children are very disrespectful to their parents and teachers. I don’t understand that at all. And there are not so many children in Africa who play computer games, whereas you do it a lot here. We don’t spend our time like that. However, when I was a kid, I did spend a lot of time watching the television, and also learnt some Danish from it.

18 / attends youth boarding school / Sønderborg from the Congo / came to Denmark in 2006 / residence permit 2013

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