The closest contact most Berliners get with African culture is dancing to reggae at Cassiopeia on Wednesdays, buying pot in Görlitzer Park, or eating a savory Nil chicken on Grünberger Straße. Until the opening of A-U Headquarter, that is.
Berlin’s first and only African bookstore provides background knowledge and a bit of authenticity to supplement the city’s profusion of poseur dreads. Opening out into Karl-Marx-Straße, the shop welcomes you with radiating orange and yellow walls lined with myriad books, handmade clothing, and artwork straight from south of the Sahara.
Whether you want a book on the history of West African cuisine (complete with recipes!), the works of Nigerian author Wole Soyinka, or a Chinua Achebe novel, A-U Headquarter is a guaranteed source for information, literature, and theatre dealing with the under-known continent. Although the majority of books are printed in German, about a quarter are in English, and the odd French copy peeks out here and there. More than a shop, the space has become a thriving community since it was opened by a friendly Hamburgerin and her Sierra Leonean husband.
Go to one of their monthly readings and experience some traditional cooking and music, make an appointment to have your hair extended, or simply hang out in the evening with the regulars in the back room. Check the website for details on upcoming events.