Unreported World: The Master Chef of Mogadishu
Quicksilver Media for Channel 4
While media coverage of Somalia often focuses on politics, violence, and the suffering inflicted on civilians, this piece looks at an ordinary man who left his life in London to set up a chain of restaurants in Mogadishu. With a new government came the hope that there could be peace. But in Somalia, the job of rebuilding the nation will probably be up to the people, not politicians.
Aidan Hartley and John Conroy made this moving film about a man determined to help re-build his country, despite the fact that his success has made him a target of al-Shabaab. Days before filming began, extremists blew themselves up in one of Ahmed’s cafes, killing 20 civilians. Through his restaurants and his sacrifice, Ahmed has given confidence to ordinary Somalis to dare to think and act more freely.
The jury said:
"The Master Chef of Mogadishu was a brave piece of filmmaking that showed a fresh perspective of life in Somalia. Beautifully filmed and observed, it was a story of hope, showing the resilience and bravery of one man determined to play his part in rebuilding his war-torn country. Where some films show people in the developing world as passive victims, here there was a real sense of agency. The jury all agreed that they would never think of Somalia in the same way as a result of having seen this film."
The jury panel:
- CHAIR: Helen Hawken, Director of Production, Factual West, DNI
- Derren Lawford, Head of Content, Livity
- Jane Mote, Freelance Media Consultant
- Dr June Bam-Hutchison, International Equality and Diversity Consultant
Click here to download a copy of the jury's citation (pdf)
L-R Nephew of Chef Ahmed Jama, Yousef Jama, series editor Monica Garnsey from Quicksilver Media and Jonathan Charles of EBRD
"I'm deeply honoured that John Conroy and I won this award, especially for a film about an amazing man in the Somalia that I love and have covered for 22 years. The One World Media Award gives recognition to the positive changes taking place in Somalia, a country that has suffered total collapse but is now redeemed and reaching for the light once more."
- Aidan Hartley