Video Premiere: A 360° Look At the Work of Somalia's First Female Mechanic

Meet Nasra Haji Hussain Ibrahim—Somalia's first female mechanic—in this stunning 360° video and interview.

SOMALIANasra Haji Hussain Ibrahim isn’t your typical Somali teenager. At 18, she’s Somalia’s first female mechanic. In a country known for its youth unemployment, Ibrahim has turned her passion into a way to support her family—breaking down archaic stereotypes along the way.

Ibrahim was one of the speakers at TedxMogadishu, a conference that took place in early April and which, despite lingering security concerns in the city, managed to bring together a group of talented and driven Somalis together to share their inspiring stories.

We spoke to Ibrahim about her experience working in a male-dominated industry and her hopes for the future. Read our conversation below and watch the virtual reality video—Somalia's first— to see Ibrahim's world close-up.

This interview has been translated from Somali.

OkayAfrica: How has working as a mechanic changed how you see yourself?

Nara Ibrahim: First of all, I am a working girl. I work as a mechanic to change the life of my family and my own. I see myself as an role model to other girls in Somalia and the whole world.

OKA: What has your family and community's reaction been to the the job and the reaction to it from places like TEDx.

NI: My family’s feelings and reactions have been very welcoming since the start. They told me that their prayers were accepted and they knew that I am going to be very special. The community around me were very surprised when they learned that I am a female mechanic because of the environment we live in and the society didn’t see something similar before, maybe it is because of the conservativeness or the civil wars our country went through.

Photo courtesy of WTYSL

OKA:What do you envision in your future? In Somalia's future?

NI: I hope, in the future, to become well known in a positive way and I need everyone to respect me and my initiative. I also hope that my country rises again and becomes great with the help of its people, especially the younger generation—including me. I am very ready to do what it takes to partake in that movement to seek the peace and justice to all Somalis.

OKA:What advice would you have for young girls anywhere trying to figure out how to break through into traditionally male areas.

NI: I advise my fellow young sisters in Somalia and the world in general to believe in their strength and leave behind their fears and ignore anyone who is against their development, and I tell them that they have all the energy, dreams and goals and they can achieve everything.

OKA:What kinds of interests do you have outside work and family? Do you have a favorite musical artist/writer/poet?

NI: When I finish my shifts and go home I go to my own private space, a corner in our house and I start writing stuff, I also read some books and listen to the stories of successful people through out history. Some of the most interesting stories that caught my attention were the biographies of Bill Gates’ and Mark Zuckerberg. I listen to national/patriotic Somali music very often. I am a big fan of the Somali poet Hadrawii. 


News Brief
Photo: Getty

Here's What You Need To Know About The Political Unrest In Sudan

Thousands have been protesting the Sudanese government over the weekend, supporting the military's plans for a coup.

Sudan's transitional government is in turmoil as thousands of citizens conducted a sit-in protest against them, over the weekend. A group of Sudanese citizens have called on the military to disestablish the nation's current government, as the country struggles with the greatest crisis they've seen since the end of former dictator Omar al-Bashir's controversial ruling, two years ago. The weekend's pro-military protests come as anti-military protestors took to the streets earlier this month to fight for civilian-ruled laws.

Military-aligned demonstrators assembled outside of the famously off-limits entrance of the Presidential Palace located in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Monday. Gatherers set up tents, blocking off access to two main intersections, cutting off access to the capital for those inside. Police attempted to wave off crowds with teargas, with Khartoum state officials saying they had, "repelled an attempted assault on the seat of government," in a statement issued Monday.

The assembly was called for by a coalition of rebel groups and political parties that support Sudan's military, accusing the civilian political parties of mismanagement and monopolizing power under their ruling. Demonstrations began on Saturday, but Sunday's gathering saw a lower attendance. According to Reuters, by Monday afternoon, thousands, between 2,000 - 3,000, had returned to voice their concerns. 52-year-old tribal elder Tahar Fadl al-Mawla spoke at the helm of the sit-in outside of the Presidential palace saying, "The civilian government has failed. We want a government of soldiers to protect the transition." Alongside a 65-year-old Ahman Jumaa who claimed to have traveled more than 900 kilometers (570 miles) from Southern region Nyala to show his support.

Protesters are demanding the appointment of a new cabinet that is "more representative of the people who participated in the December 2019 revolution that eventually led to the ousting of former president Omar al-Bashir", Al Jazeera reported from Sudan. Protesters headed towards the Presidential Palace, where an emergency cabinet meeting was being held when they were met by police forces.

Pro-civilian political parties have plans for their own demonstration on Thursday, the anniversary of the 1964 revolution that overthrew Sudan's first military regime under Ibrahim Abboud and brought in a period of democracy that the country still struggles to uphold.

Sudanese Twitter users shared their thoughts online, with many drawing similarities between the current unrest and other political crises the nation has faced.

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