THE MAYOR OF
Jan Grarup took a break from his long-term series documenting war, famine
and refugees in Somalia to photograph
a man trying to transform the war-torn capital. By Meghan Ahearn
all photos © Jan Grarup/noor ima Ges
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The AfricAn coun Try of SomAliA hAS been rAvAged by
civil war and famine for over two decades. much of the fight-
ing has taken place in the capital of mogadishu, including re-
cent conflicts between government forces and Al-Shabab, an
army of militant islamists. but in the last year and a half, one
man has made it his mission to return the city to normalcy.
mohamoud Ahmed nur, also known as the mayor of
mogadishu, has focused on rebuilding and improving the
city’s security by launching various public works projects
such as removing the debris 20 years of war has left behind
and restoring outdoor street lighting so businesses can stay
open later. mogadishu is now safer than it’s been in years,
with its markets and schools re-opening, and other signs of
a re-emergent civic life.
nur is the subject of an 18-page article in the german newspaper supplement
Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin. When editor-in-chief Timm Klotzek received an
The mayor of Mogadishu standing amongst the ruins of the parliament building in the center of the city.
article pitch about the mayor from writer michael obert he was intrigued. he also
knew that it costs a lot of money to keep journalists safe in mogadishu.
“i thought, well if it’s going to be expensive, i’m going to print it on as many pages
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