Somali woman becomes global Instagram star

The self-styled comedienne posts videos and photos of daily life in Mogadishu. (Photo courtesy: Instagram)


Somali Instagram star Ugaaso Abakar is making headlines with her irreverent take on life in the country.

The self-styled comedienne posts videos and photos of daily life in Mogadishu, countering negative stereotypes that the country is plagued by violence.

With 42,000 followers on the social media site, Abakar is making waves with her visual commentary and spoke to the BBC on her endeavors.

“Starting out, I did not have a mission and I just wanted to make my friends laugh but now my mission might be just to show that Mogadishu is just as normal as anywhere else in the world.

“I think a lot of people fret over coming to certain African countries that have experienced war.”

When war broke out in Somalia in 1991, Abakar fled to Canada with her grandparents and only returned to Somalia – and her mother – in 2014.

When asked if her Instagram feed only represented the lives of Mogadishu’s privileged society, she responded in the negative.

“I don’t feel privileged at all. A lot of us who came to Somalia are here because we want to be here, not because we live lavishly.”

“I’m actually putting myself at risk every time I leave the house, knowing that there is a sniper on somebody’s roof,” she countered.

Has she faced any other stumbling blocks? Abakar said the attitude held by some toward women has been a problem.

“The biggest issue is that women will tell you that you can’t do certain things because you are a woman. It gives me the utmost pleasure to prove them otherwise.”

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