AWRA Film Review: ‘A Girl From Mogadishu’ starring Aja Naomi King

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A Girl from Mogadishu is an Irish-Belgian film. It is a somewhat fictionalized story based on the testimony of AWRA founding member Ifrah Ahmed, who having escaped war-torn Somalia, emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against gender-based violence.

I have had the pleasure of participating in the screening of A Girl From Mogadishu at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2019. I’ve seen first-hand the powerful emotional journey the film has taken me and others that were privileged to be there that day. 

A Girl From Mogadishu is a riveting story of survival, hope and friendship. We don’t necessarily have to have walked in Ifrah Ahmed’s shoes to relate as we have all at some point experienced  some form of challenge, trial, or tribulation. 

As someone that has faced so many obstacles, Ifrah is one of the most positive people I’ve ever met, her unrelenting authentic drive to protect, give hope, and empower all girls- especially Somali girls- continues to give me drive and passion. It also helps fuel our work to end gender-based violence at Africa Women Rights Advocates. 

As a  fellow Somali – I can contest that storytelling and the authenticity of the events are important.  Aja Naomi King cast as Ifrah Ahmed, and Martha Canga Antonio as Amala, played powerful Somali characters, meanwhile the extraordinary Maryum Mursal and Barkhad Abdi have done a stellar job in their roles and couldn’t be more fitting.  

New research indicates more than 10 percent of the directors on 2019 top films were women and was the highest in over a decade. A Girl From Mogadishu falls within this encouraging category as a woman-led production. However, now  more than ever, the needle needs to be moved. We need to play our part as Africa Women Rights Advocates to demand a significant shift in seeing more people of color represented on and off screen productions and more broadly in the entertainment industry.

As part of  this year’s #16DaysofActivism Against Gender-Based Violence –  Wallace Global Fund in partnership with Ifrah Foundation and the Africa Women Rights Advocates – you will have an opportunity to watch the much anticipated film- A Girl From Mogadishu as part of a Global Virtual Screening in your local time zones.

See event details in this link.   

Screening dates & times :

  • UK/IRE – Wed Nov 25th ,  7pm 
  • EAST COAST US – Mon Nov 30th , 7pm  
  • WEST COAST US – Tues Dec 1st , 7pm 
  • EUROPE – Fri Dec 4th , 7pm 
  • ASIA – Sun Dec 6th,  7pm
  • WEST AFRICA – Sat Dec 5th , 7pm 
  • EAST AFRICA – Thurs Dec 10th , 7pm


Naimah Hassan

The Author

Naimah Hassan is a London-based leader and women’s rights activist. She has been involved in the international development area for 13 years and is specialized in media, campaigning, advocacy and communications. She also serves as a program director at the global media campaign to end FGM and a champion for African women’s rights as well.