Metropolitan nomads: a journey through Jo’burg’s “little Mogadishu”

Nereida Ripero-Muñiz & photos by Salym Fayad (2016) Metropolitan nomads:a journey through Jo’burg’s “little Mogadishu”, Anthropology Southern Africa, 39:3, 232-240, [DOI:10.1080/23323256.2016.1215251]

Mayfair, a Johannesburg suburb, is a place where the lives of hundreds of Somalis intersect: a space of opportunity for some, a place of refuge for others, and a home away from home for the Somali diaspora in the city. This is a multi-layered site where Somali migrants, as urban refugees, renegotiate their cultural and religious practices in a foreign, metropolitan context; where spaces and customs that were left behind are recreated in the daily life of the neighbourhood. Using photography and an ethnographic approach, “Metropolitan Nomads” is a collaborative project between researcher Nereida Ripero-Muñiz and documentary photographer Salym Fayad. The project takes an intimate look at the everyday life of Somali migrants in Johannesburg, where collective stories of migration and survival interweave with individual desires and hopes of seeking a better life outside a country shattered by decades of internal conflict.