Frame 0004
Somali journalists in Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
By Ruud Elmendorp
23 Nov 2012

25-years old Amina Ismail is one of the students on the Somali Journalist School in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Amina came to Nairobi many years ago with her parents when they fled neighboring Somalia for the civil conflict that started in 1991. As a refugee Amina was raised in Kenya and lives in the Somali neighborhood Eastleigh in Nairobi.
The area nicknamed Little Mogadishu is thriving with high rise offices and apartments, shops, restaurants, hotels, markets, music stores, artists, and a stark contrast with Somalia’s capital Mogadishu that remains destroyed after so many years of war. For journalists there it is very dangerous. This year only 16 journalists were killed. The Somali Exiled Journalists Association in Nairobi who organizes the journalist training commemorates these journalists with ceremonies in its office in Eastleigh. For Amina the violence against journalists is one of the topics she studies during her classes. She also goes out in Eastleigh to practice reporting, and it is very interesting because of its liveliness, economic activity, association with Somali pirates and even the extremists of Al Shabaab. Everything an aspiring journalist would hope for. Still Amina wants to return to Somalia as a journalist.

Soundbite 1: In the name of Allah, the most merciful and the most gracious, let peace be with you.

Soundbite 2: Later as a journalist, I want to interview any person in politics. Whether he is president, vice president or weather he is a parliamentarian. I want to interview them.

Soundbite 3: I know that one day, I will die anyway. So I am not afraid to be next to the ones who are killed. I have my ambitions, and if I die, it means it was my time.

Thumb sm
garbage on street
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
22 Nov 2012

Garbage on street in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
man bicycling through water
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
22 Nov 2012

Man bicycling through a flooded street in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
school girl running
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
22 Nov 2012

Girl running along road in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
girl in bus
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
22 Nov 2012

Girl in bus in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
man walking through water
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
22 Nov 2012

Man walking in the street after floods in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
people walking by
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
21 Nov 2012

One of the main streets in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
bus going through water after floods
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
17 Nov 2012

Bus going through a flooded street in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
man and woman walking by
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
16 Nov 2012

Man and women passing each other on side street in Eastliegh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
women walking through market
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
16 Nov 2012

Women walking through the market an early morning in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
houses
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
15 Nov 2012

View of houses in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalia part of Nairobi.

Thumb sm
man being hit
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
14 Nov 2012

Man beating another man in Eastliegh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalia part of Nairobi

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (1 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Daha Printing Press first opened its doors to Mogadishu in 1967. Despite a brief period of nationalization during the 70's, the shop has remained with its original owners, and printers, for over three generations.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (3 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Kasim Shiek Ahmed, 60 (left), and Liban Egal, 43 (right), and their families have been linked through the letterpress for nearly half a century. Kasims father was Dahas first printer, and Libans father, Abdi Egal Hassan, founded Daha. The two play a game of Shax, similar to checkers, during down time at the shop.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (4 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

After Somalia's independence in 1960, many young Somali students were offered scholarships from European universities. One such student, Abdi Egal Hassan (left), just 19 at the time, earned a scholarship to studying printing in Germany in 1961. He graduated in 1963, and returned to Somalia to start Daha Printing Press, named after his first daughter.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (5 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

A little-used stockroom is now a scattered archive littered with years of printed history; tax receipt books, business cards, customs forms, completed jobs forms and unpaid invoices. On the shelves are leftover national ID cards from the tumulous years of the Somali National Alliance, from 1992-2001.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (6 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

The main room of Daha Printing Press, a sweltering cellar beneath the former Las Vegas Bar, where decades of ink and sweat have spilled on the dark concrete floor. A massive Heidelberg Original Cylinder press takes up most of the space.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (7 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

German-made Heidelberg presses are often hailed as the finest letterpress machines ever made. Dahas Heidelberg Original Cylinder was built sometime around the 1940's, and fits Mogadishu perfectly. Its a workhorsecheap, reliable, and easy to maintain. Unlike newer lynotypes, it costs nearly same to print one sheet as it does 10,000.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (8 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Letterpress printing, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1440s was the primary method of mass-printing until the invention of offset printing in the early 20th century. This 'cylinder' press, from the 1940s, creates a type impression on only a tiny strip of the paper, while older presses make impressions of a whole page at once, making cylinder presses more powerful and accurate.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (9 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

In the printing hayday of the 1980s Dahas Heidelberg was operating around the clock. The business was lucrative. "Its where our family made our money before the diaspora," says Liban. The civil war occationally ground production to halt, but most days, the printing went on.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (10 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Kasim Sheik Ahmed, 60, oversees production of customs declaration forms for Mogadishus busy port. The same exact forms his father printed at Daha in the late 1960s - in both Italian and Englishare being repurposed for the new government.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (11 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Nicknamed "Tobleno" (cartoon, in Italian,) fitting for his wiry, humorous, and highly animated presence, Kasim has worked at Daha Printing Press for 45 years, except during the 11-year period of nationalization. He still works at Daha from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., every day except Friday, and is always found wearing a traditional somali macawiis (sarong) and tank top-and typically with a cigarrete dangling from his mouth.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (12 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Despite working a letterpress for almost his whole life, Kasim still cannot read or write. He relies on his current assistant, Ali Abdullhi, to lay the type.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (13 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Dozens of boxes of hard metal typfaces fill a wooden shelf near the printer. Each box has the typeface name, and font sizes, from 8 through 48.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (14 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Kasim moves swiftly around the machine. Like a dancer, he has style, a unique way of pushing, filling, cutting, pushing, rotating, and moving. He doesnt speak any English, but acts in effective gestures, like sign language. I check his handsnot one cut, missing finger, or bruise.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (15 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Liban, who inherited Daha after his father died, leafs through a collection of old receipts. As a teenager, Liban worked in the shop with his father after school, and briefly ran it in the 80s before moving to the US. When Liban visited in 1997, he found over $1 million in outstanding loans from the government, which had taken prints on loan but never paid. He quickly turned the shop around stating No credit for anyone!

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (17 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Receipts from the 1980s, before the Somali civil war. Some are written in Somali, others in Italian. The price, 6,650 Somali Shillings, is worth less than 25 cents today

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (18 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

Business card of former Col. Axmed Cumar Jees. Throughout Somalias troubled recent history, Daha has remained an impartial and unbiased entity, printing for anyone who has attempted to control Mogadishu, legitimately or by force.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (19 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

An original business card of General Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid, one of Mogadishus most notorious warlords and former Chairman of the Somali National Alliance. A failed attempt by US Army Rangers in 1993 to capture General Aidid resulted in the now famous Black Hawk Down incident. He declared himself president of Somalia briefly, and died during a battle in 1996.

Thumb sm
Letterpress of Mogadishu (20 of 20)
Mogadishu, Somalia
By jonathankalan
01 Oct 2012

A paper printout of the Somali flag hangs on the wall. Despite dramatic shifts of power and control since the nation's independence, the flag, much like Daha, has remained unchanged.

Thumb sm
THE LETTERPRESS OF MOGADISHU
Mogadishu, Somalia
By Mais Istanbuli
01 Oct 2012

A print shop in the Somali capital tells the story of the country's two decades of turmoil -- and rebirth.
In a tiny, damp, oil-soaked cellar tucked behind one of Mogadishu's bullet-pocked central streets, fragile remnants of a city's survival clutter the rickety shelves. Their location, hidden just beneath Mogadishu's shelled façade, is perhaps their only reason for survival.

For 45 years, Daha Printing Press has accumulated an inked archive of Mogadishu's intricate, vibrant and violent political and social history. As governments, dictators, warlords, and militias battled for control of the streets above, Daha operated like a well-oiled machine, printing for all who walked in their door. Everybody, it seems, has something to print.

"Even warlords needed to collect taxes," Liban Egal, the son of Daha's original owner, asserts.

Customs declaration forms for Mogadishu's bustling port, still written in Italian from early post-colonial days, sit freshly pressed on the table; they are being repurposed for Somalia's new government. Tax collection slips and Central Bank account ledgers from the military rule of Mohamed Siad Barre -- whose ousting in 1991 launched two decades of civil war -- litter the stock room. Business cards, like that of notorious warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, who was the target of a failed American assassination attempt (which in turn resulted the infamous 'Black Hawk Down' incident), fill old wooden drawers. Even United Nations Development Program reports from the 1980's hide under crumbling shelves.

Originally opened in central Mogadishu in 1967, Daha Printing Press was founded by 25 year-old Abdi Egal Hassan. Hassan took skills he mastered studying printmaking in Germany through a scholarship, and built a thriving enterprise.

By 1969, General Mohamed Siad Barre staged a successful military coup and took control of Somalia. He experimented with Chinese-influenced 'scientific socialism,' and in 1971 all private sector workers became government employees. All large businesses became government businesses. Daha was shut down.

Barre eventually switched sides during the Cold War, aligning with the US. In 1983 Abdi was able to reopen Daha Printing Press. The small letterpress shop has remained unchanged in location, machinery and employees, ever since.

Liban Egal, Abdi Egal Hassan's son, currently owns Daha. Liban, who grew up working the printing press after school, has recently returned to Mogadishu after spending more than twenty years abroad. In addition to resuming work at the press, he is founding the First Somali Bank -- Somalia's first since the collapse of the country's Central Bank in 1991 -- along with Somalia Wireless, a mobile internet company.

With Mogadishu quivering on the edge of sustained peace for the first time in two decades, Kasim Shiek Ahmed, whose family has labored behind the machines for 3 generations, and Liban are ready to welcome the arrival of Somalia's first real government in as many years. On August 20th, the Federal Parliament of Somalia was inaugurated, and the Federal Government of Somalia, the first permanent central government since 1991, replaced the Transitional Federal Government. On September 16th, Hassan Sheik Mohamud, a political activist and academic, was sworn in as Somalia's newest President.

"As soon as this new government begins, that's when we begin," exclaims Liban "Every Ministry will need some kind of paper."

The old Heidelberg printing press, its slickly oiled gears churning beneath the shell-shocked streets, will also press on. "We can't forget this machine," Kasim expresses with a wide grin. "It's like family