On 9 March 1996 Elman Ali Ahmed, a social activist, was killed for encouraging the youth to choose the pen over the gun!
Seventeen years after his death his daughters Ilwad Elman, 23, and Iman Elman, 21, pose inside the Elman Peace Centre, a rape crisis shelter and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu. Ilwad runs the Elman Peace Centre with her mother, Fartun Adan, while Iman is a commander in the Somali military.
- ‘My great-grandfather bought us sweets often when we were younger. We didn’t care about the bullets we heard in our neighbourhood at times because we had him and of course the sweets. That’s all that mattered. I think home is definitely where my grandparents are.’ // Fatiima with a picture of her great-grandfather Barud Mohammud. The picture was taken in 1989.
Capturing Nairobi’s Essence through Portraits, with @lafrohemien
To see more of Sarah’s portraits, follow @lafrohemien on Instagram.
“I tend to put my subjects against a backdrop that will not only tell a story about them, but also about the city,” explains Kenya Instagrammer Sarah Waiswa (@lafrohemien). “Nairobi is a diverse landscape and it is important for me to show that in my photos.”
Originally drawn to Instagram as a way to see the world through the lens of others, Sarah now shares her own photographs that reveal her city’s unique juxtapositions. She says, “Nairobi is one of the few places in the world where you can capture wildlife with the city skyline as an unexpected backdrop.”
For Sarah, sharing her city through photos of its inhabitants opens up new avenues for storytelling. She hopes her portraits reflect the nature of Nairobi: “It is alluring and mysterious at the same time.”
So happy to have been featured on instagram!
"Freedom or death" Slogan in French Somaliland i.e Djibouti in March 1967
Swahili women of Zanzibar
Your Beautiful Country Somalia
Alleyl dumay albaabbadoo xiran, uunku wada seexday
Onkod yeedhay uugaamo roob, alif banaadiiq ah
Iihdayda bixi baa libaax, iman la moodaaye
Raggase adhaxdiyo ooftu waa, udub dhexaadkiiye
Labadii wax laga eegi jirey, waan ka awdnahaye
Halkaan aa ka leeyahay Ilaah, keliya uun baa og
Aboodigu ma lalo garab hadduu, iin ku leeyahaye
Orod uma hollado oglihii, adhaxda beelaaye
Ma aarsado il iyo oof ninkii, iimi kaga taale
Aroos uma galbado nimuu, wadnaha arami jiifaaye
Geeluba kolkuu oomo waa, olol badnaadaaye
Sidii inan yar oo hooyadeed, aakhiro u hoyatay
Oo aabbeheed aqal mid kale, meel illin ah seexshey
Hadba waxaan la urugoonayaa, uur-ku-taallada e
Ninkii ooridiisii rag kale, loo igdhaan ahaye
Ninka ilo biyo leh soo arkoo, oomman baan ahaye
Nin ugaas walaalkiis yahoo, eeday baan ahaye
Af-dhabaandhow aayar ninkaa, aammusaan ahaye
Night Has Fallen
Night had fallen and behind closed doors everyone was sleeping
Thunder called out with a clamour of rain like shots from a thousand rifles
So was my wailing heard that they thought it a lion approaching
For men the spine and ribsides are the body’s central support
I am shut away now from the eyes through which I used to see
Only God knows the source of my lamentations
The vulture with an injury to his shoulder cannot fly
The horse who has lost his spine cannot gallop
The man injured in eye and ribs cannot seek revenge
A man whose heart aches cannot take a bride home
When the camels are thirsty their outcries increase
Like a small girl whose mother now lives in the hereafter
Whose father has brought another woman to sleep in the aqal*
I grieve constantly from the sorrow deep in my belly
I’m the man whose fiancée has been given to another
I’m the man who sees springs but whose thirst remains unquenched
I’m the man whose brother is clan leader and yet is accused
I am that silent man who sits, slowly patting his mouth again and again
* An aqal is a nomadic hut used by the Somalis.
© Raage Ugaas from Shire Jaamac Axmed, Gabayo, Maahmaah iyo Sheekooyin Yaryar. (Mogadishu: The National
Printers); translation © Martin Orwin. via citylore.org
SPOTLIGHT: MOHAMED MOHAMUD, FOUNDER OF SOMALI SIDEWAYS
How would you define Somali Sideways?
Somali Sideways is a platform where Somalis from across the globe can share personal stories, so people can either relate or learn. Somali Sideways aims to connect, as well as re-connect Somalis on social media. We live in a world where technology and social media are booming every day and I thought now would be a great time to bring Somalis from the Diaspora together and to share experiences and stories to one another. Primarily this initiative is aimed at young Somalis. However, I would like to get Somalis of all ages in the future insha’Allah.
What prompted you to provide a platform for Somalis that showcases not just yourself, but the greater Somali diaspora? What I find so intriguing about it is the branding and the fact that you’re sharing a space with many people.
In the two years, I’ve been going to quite a few Somali cafes, restaurants and events and I noticed amongst other things is that everyone I’ve met has a profound story to tell me or a lesson for me to learn. Until recently I wanted to somehow bring my photography skills into something and that’s when I thought it would be a good idea to bring my skills as well as the stories I’ve heard. To be honest deep down I’ve always been that person. There was a book I read a couple of months ago and one of the sentences that stood out to me was ‘Life is about selflessly helping others’. That is something I firmly believe in.
The stories showcased range from reflections to epiphanies to tributes to musings of diasporic nostalgia. They all seem to center around Somalinimo in all its complex manifestations. What has your experience curating these stories been like?
Personally, I can relate to most of these stories, especially reflections. I believe it is important to be in constant reflection as this will enhance your personal development in the long run.
What is Somalinimo to you? And how has your Somalinimo shaped your work and your decision to create Somali sideways?
I was never someone who was interested in anything that was related to Somalis or Somalia as a whole. I wasn’t interested in helping people, whether they were Somali or not. As I started to know about myself, I realised it is important to know where you are from; connecting your roots constantly throughout your life. A lot of people ask me, ‘How did you do it?’ And to be honest I didn’t do it. I just connected things. Steve Jobs once said, ‘When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things’.
What responses, criticisms, and/or reactions have your received about your work?
In the beginning, I posted a few photos on my Instagram just to see if people would respond well to the idea. Wallahi, I’m surprised at how well it’s going. People from around the world, Somalis and Non-Somalis, have congratulated me on this initiative. They’ve told me to carry it on and insha’Allah I will. Some people have criticised me on this, but then again: not every project is for everyone.
What do you wish the Somali community to gain from reading Somali Sideways?
I want the Somali community whether on a local, national or international level to know that young Somalis have incredible stories and lessons to teach.
Lastly, what’s the significance presenting the subject of the photograph sideways?
The sideways element was a creative idea. It brings thoughtfulness, reflection and expression to the photo. It illustrates that the person is thinking of that story in that precise moment. I wanted to also bring in the location of the photo to show the area of where the photo was taken.
This interview was conducted by Aisha Jama.