Abdulkadir’s typical day begins with tea in the morning in the company of his 90 year old father. After that he takes a leisurely stroll to his garage to fetch his car so he can pick his niece, nephew and their friends for the morning school run. They could use the bus, but prefer riding in his car, Occasionally, after school if they get lucky, they get to watch him work. “I can go anywhere in this city” he says. “It’s my city. I know every alley and street of it. When I am not working, I volunteer at local schools where I teach primary students. I do some secondary school mentoring and tutoring too.”
Since Somalia’s 1991 civil war and the political instability it wrought, the capital city, Mogadishu, has been viewed by the majority as a city struggling to rebuild. To the rest of the world, it is a city full of violence and terror. To Abdulkadir and others like him, are proof that better times do exist, and they are a living testament every day. Photography, especially street photography and making documentaries is a passion he holds dearly. His subjects are carefully chosen and include the beach, which forms a great deal of his childhood memories. Looking through his pictures I could immediately tell he favours the beach in his work.
I started photography early in my childhood,” said Abdulkadir. “I had uncles who had photo studios. Sadly their studios, cameras and photo collections were either looted or destroyed in the early days of the civil war. I became more interested in photography when I started publishing a magazine for the East African communities based in Minnesota,” he explains as he walks around with a camera. The city bustles with activity, what with huge markets like Bakaaraha, Xamarweyne and Suuq Bacaad.
Just imagine Nairobi’s Eastleigh market – but three times bigger. That’s Bakaaraha Market where you can find and buy anything. Business is booming. Social life is happening.
You will hear loud Western, Somali, African or even Bollywood music within that neighbourhood. Most wedding ceremonies take place on weekends Dhaanto time in Xamar Bile. School kids dancing Dhaanto to celebrate their graduation from high school. Dhaanto is a very popular dance in Somalia right now; Cultural expressions in Mogadishu, Somalia; Smart middle schoolers from Hoyga Xamar; Kids and the ice cream. Seen on the streets of Mogadishu; BELOW: Throw ball games among the youth and there is music everywhere,” Abdulkadir proudly tells me of his Mogadishu. He adds that despite the destruction, the markets, the children, the minarets and the hustle, co-exist to what is the ever dynamic Mogadishu.
What about the women of the community? Somali women, he says, are involved in every aspect of life, be it professional or recreational.