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The Director Revealing Somalia’s Untold Stories

Who would shoot a 10-part TV series in a city emerging from a 30-year conflict with a cast of teenagers who have never acted before? The answer is Ahmed Farah. He is the director of Arday or “Student”, which was filmed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and launches on Thursday on the country’s Bile TV channel. It grapples with some of the country’s most controversial issues, including pornography, rape, drugs and girl gangsters – all taboo topics in Somalia. Each 25-minute episode focuses on a group of high-school students and how they deal with the challenging world they are growing up in. Like elsewhere in the world, the sharing of videos of women being sexually abused is a growing problem in Somalia. Arday’s not insubstantial budget was entirely funded by Somalis. While members of the older generation were appalled by the themes, some young people in Mogadishu said it was important the series addressed tricky topics.