Ali, Zakaria Mohamed
Zakaria Mohamed Ali
Director and actor (Mogadishu, Somalia, 6.1.1986)
Zakaria Mohamed Ali was born in Mogadiscio, Somalia, in 1986. His first aspiration was to become a photo-journalist. When he was very young, the Office of the Somali Journalists Network, later to become NUSOJ (National Union of Somali Journalists), was founded in front of the house where he lived with his family. Eventually he requested and got to become a member of NUSOJ and started to collaborate with a weekly newspaper (Haqabtiraha caashaqa), focusing on writing for young people, and about sports in Somalia, in Mogadishu. In 2004 Zakaria met Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar (Deyl) the manager of daily newspaper Xidigta Xamar and started to write for them. Soon he realized that working as a journalist could be a very risky endeavour. On 11 August 2007, his teacher Ahmed Elmi and other journalists like Ali Iman Sharmarke were murdered. For this reason he decided to left the country, accompanied by 24 other Somali journalists. They headed to Hargeisa Somaliland on 2 December 2007 and there began his odyssey through the desert and the Mediterranean Sea that led him to disembark at Lampedusa, Italy, as a refugee seeker, on August 2008.
Once in Italy, he settled in Rome and obtained the status of refugee, benefiting of international protection. In 2012, he had the opportunity to attend a documentary workshop organized by Archivio Memorie Migranti (AMM), under the supervision of Renaud Personnaz, that produced six short documentaries on the issue of job, among which his L’attesa. After that, he joined the project of a feature documentary called Benvenuti in Italia produced by AMM on the issue of migration, from the point of view of some expats from the Global South, and composed of five segments, among which his Dadir. Two other segments were directed by African filmmakers, i.e. Ethiopian Dagmawi Yimer, and Burkinabe Hamed Dera.
In 2013, still under the umbrella of AMM, he got back to Lampedusa as a free man, to film a short documentary called To Whom It May Concern, relating his own very experience. In 2013, he participated also as an actor to feature film Lampedusa, written, filmed and produced by Austrian director Peter Schreiner.
Zakaria lives in Rome, where he works also as a freelance journalist and as a unit in an immigration center for refugee seekers.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi, with Alessio Altieri e Renata Ornella Orlando
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