Ahmed Jama turned his back on the successful restaurant he started in London and decided to move back to his home country Somalia. At the time he chose to return to Mogadishu, it was one of the world’s most dangerous cities and so the reaction he got from people was varied. A lot of people questioned his sanity.
In 2008, Ahmed opened his first restaurant called “The Village”. He wanted to offer a sense of normalcy in a place that was war torn and had very little to offer in terms of hope for the future.
According to Ahmed “The only reason why I came here is to change the lives of the people who don’t have somewhere to work and people who have been locked indoors and they don’t have anywhere to go and socialize…Basically, what I am looking for is to show them, ‘yes, you can laugh when you finish work, university, office work, wherever you are, you have somewhere to go“
In September 2012, 2 men wearing explosive vests walked into The Village killing 14 people and leaving 20 wounded. The suicide bombers were suspected members of al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group opposed to the Western-backed government of Somalia.
Refusing to be discouraged by the act of terrorism, Ahmed takes a stand and keeps doing what he knows how to do best, cooking and putting smiles on people’s faces.
Watch his feature on CNN‘s African Voices.