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Africa

Actor son of Senegalese diplomat now German politician

Millions of Germans know him as Superintendent Harry Johnson from the crime television series "Der Alte" (The Old Man). The 56 year-old son of a Senegalese diplomat is now a German parliamentary deputy.

Listening to the way Charles M. Huber speaks German when relaxing with friends and, if you're a German speaker, you will instantly realize that he is a Bavarian. He identifies himself as such, and is also a supporter of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Party, the CDU. In the run-up to the German general election in September, he could be seen in television campaign ads urging Germans "to join together in forging a strong Germany."

Huber is a relative recent convert to the CDU. In 2004, he was a member of the centrist Social Democrats. Then in 2009, he switched to the ultra conservative Christian Social Union, the CSU, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's CDU. In 2013, he switched parties once again – an unusual move in German politics - standing as a candidate for the CDU. He is now a CDU deputy and one of two deputies with African roots. The other is Social Democrat Karamba Diaby. There are 631 deputies in the German parliament of whom 34 have migrant backgrounds.

Bildnummer: 59524783 Datum: 01.01.1992 Copyright: imago/United Archives International DER ALTE Der dritte Versuch Leo Kress (ROLF SCHIMPF, l.) ist in den Besitz eines früheren Abschiedsbriefes der Toten gekommen. MARKUS BÖTTCHER, 2.v.l. (Riedmann) MICHAEL ANDE, 2.v.r. (Gerd Heymann) CHARLES M.HUBER (Henry Johnson) 36793-0-58565 , 01kpaAlte2 PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY !ACHTUNG: AUFNAHMEDATUM GESCHÄTZT! Entertainment People x0x xkg 1992 quer 01kpaAlte2 2.v.l 2.v.r 36793-0-58565 ALTE ANDE Abschiedsbriefes Besitz BÖTTCHER CHARLES DER Gerd Henry Heymann Johnson Kress Leo M.HUBER MARKUS MI010801 MICHAEL ROLF Riedmann SCHIMPF SENDETERMIN Toten Woche ZDF den eines früheren gekommen in ist

Unsolved mysteries: Charles M. Huber (right) in the ZDF crime series "Der Alte"

Helping German companies

Huber doesn't like the term "migrant background" and believes it to be unnecessary and not very helpful when promoting integration. "Sociologically defined, I am not a migrant, but, of course, most of the people don't know that, and visually maybe I'm more a migrant than others who are (migrants)," he said.

Huber's mother was German. His father was a Senegalese diplomat and he has kept up his ties to Africa. On his website, he says he is a filmmaker, dental technician, author and consultant for intercultural and African questions. He has worked for the Ethiopian ministry of tourism and has been helping German firms break into the African market. He is also still in contact with Senegal, the land of his forefathers, and in 2002 set up an organization called "Afrika Direkt" which supports children from poor backgrounds. In a television ad for Deutsche Bank, he explained why his work for Africa meant so much to him.

"It's great fun watching the children grow up and to see how seriously they take their education in Africa," he said. He tells the young people that if you are good at what you do, then you will always find work. "You just have to have patience, discipline, stamina and determination," he said.

Viewers to German television know Huber as Superintendent Henry Johnson from the crime television series "Der Alte" (The Old Man). His acting career helped to convince him that having a migrant background need not be a barrier to success.

"In all the things you do, you have to take the initiative and it is not a matter of skin color or whatever. He also said people should not rely on governments to take the initiative. "It is up to you," he told Deutsche Welle.

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