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. 



A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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