Charles M. Huber (*1956)

A former actor noted for his subsequent career as a politician, Charles Muhamed Huber served in the German federal parliament as a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 2013 to 2017. He was one of the first two Afro-German Bundestag members to ever be elected, along with Karamba Diaby, also of the CDU.

Huber was born in Munich on December 3, 1956 into a family of politicians, which contributed to his own career path. His father was a Senegalese diplomat, while his uncle, Léopold Sédar Senghor, was the first president of Senegal, serving in that position for two decades. Despite these influences, Charles Huber’s first foray into the professional world was not as a politician, but as an actor. He first gained fame in Germany in 1986 when he played the role of Henry Johnson in the TV crime drama series, Der Alte. He would continue to play this role for eleven years, until 1997.

In the early 2000s, Huber turned his attention to his Senegalese connections. In 2002, he founded Afrika Direkt e.V., a non-profit organization that supports artists, young people, and the poor in Senegal, and that is particularly dedicated to supporting the education of Senegalese children. In 2005, Huber wrote an autobiography that has been translated into English as A Bavarian in Senegal: My Life between two Worlds.

A few years later, Huber finally entered the political sphere. He was elected to office in the state of Hesse and served as a member of the German Bundestag on the Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2013 to 2017. During this time, Huber’s focus was largely on Germany’s relationships with countries in West and Central Africa, including Senegal. He served as the chairman of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with States of West and Central Africa and was a member of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with States of Central America.

Despite his apparent success, Huber announced in 2016 that he would not run again in the next federal election, instead opting to step down from politics. Overall, Charles Huber had a successful career as a politician, being one of the first people of African descent to be elected to the Bundestag. He was a source of inspiration and left a positive impact on the people he represented, as well as many people in Senegal. Currently, Huber still involves himself in advocacy and politics, appearing as a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Howard University, and elsewhere.

– Christian Musgrave (University of Missouri)