Madgermanes

Translated by Katy Derbyshire

Madgermanes is what the Mozambican workers once contracted out to East Germany are called today. At the end of the 1970s, some 20,000 of them were sent from the People’s Republic of Mozambique to the GDR to labour for their socialist sister country. After the Berlin Wall fell, almost all of them lost their residency status. Decades later, they are still waiting for most of their wages to be paid.

Birgit Weyhe depicts their search for belonging and a place to call home, caught between two cultures and two states that no longer exist. Based on extensive interviews, she creates three fictitious narrators and transforms their stories into a visual language that skilfully interweaves African and European narrative traditions.

‘Birgit Weyhe traces emotions and situations, translating them into overwhelming images by entering into an artistic dialogue between European and African culture.’ Max and Moritz Prize

‘This book is a great document and a monument to the injustice that befell me and other contract workers in East Germany.’ Emiliano Chaimite

  • Madgermanes
    Book 15.99 GBP
    Graphic novel
    B-format paperback
    1 October 2021
    9783863913069
    9783863913069
Reviews

'A beautiful and heartbreaking graphic novel.'

Exberliner

'Birgit Weyhe brings the stories to life both through her words and illustrations, creating a sort of drawn documentary.'

The Indie Insider

'It’s a story that needs telling, and Weyhe’s depiction of the ‘Madgermanes’ from Mozambique is an excellent illustration of these good people who found themselves taken advantage of. (…) Highly recommended.'

Shiny New Books

'A charged book that brings to life a time and a people whose story is perhaps not widely known but really needs highlighting.'

Trip Fiction

“The most compelling book I have read this year is Madgermanes (…) Told from three perspectives, it’s a tale of grief, resilience, loss and hope. I loved it.”

Musa Okwonga, New Statesman

'Madgermanes is an absorbing, informative and deeply moving work of fiction about homeland, exile, despair and hope, giving voice to unheard stories and asking deep questions about belonging as an intrinsic aspect of human experience.'

The Monthly Booking

'Read Madgermanes. Soak yourself in other people’s stories. Absorb some important history. Broaden your horizons.'

Bookmunch

'Madgermanes offers a unique perspective into a group of people forgotten by every place they have called home, and let down by every institution that promised them a better life. (…) I can only hope that you seek it out for yourself, and enjoy it as much as I did.'

Translating Women

'Weyhe’s approach is sensitive, at times emotional, and always powerful. It is also somewhat restrained – she lets the story speak for itself.'

Eurolitnet

'In transmitting oral histories through fictional first-person narratives, Weyhe uses her skills as a storyteller to ensure that the resounding effect of her work is one of profound empathy.'

Asymptote