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The Rich And Complicated Story Of Somalis In The UK

Wednesday 1st July 2020 marked 60 years of Somali independence and unification. 

On June 26th 1960, the protectorate that had existed as British Somaliland since 1887 was dissolved. This was followed four days later by the Italian forces in the neighbouring region of Italian Somaliland granting independence to the territory they had colonised. The two formerly European-controlled territories united to form the Somali Republic.

This may appear to many as just historic facts, but Somalia’s tumultuous, colonial history haunts the lives of Somalis across the globe today.

The Somali diaspora is one of the largest in the world, and whilst most refugees have settled in nearby countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia or Yemen, there are significant Somali populations in the UK, USA, Canada, Scandinavia and even Australia.

The story of Somalis in Britain is a tale of pride. Despite the unfortunate circumstances that led to their arrival, Somalis have had a heavy hand to play in the construction of a multicultural British society. Whether it be in the fields of music, sport, fashion, media or entertainment, the Somali community and Somali culture has played a part.