The Mayor of Mogadishu

Chaos and Redemption in Somalia

In The Mayor of Mogadishu Andrew Harding tells the story one family’s journey through Somalia’s turmoil, from the optimism of independence to its spectacular unravelling. Mohamud ‘Tarzan’ Nur, the individual at the center of the book, was born a nomad, and became an orphan, then a street brawler in the cosmopolitan port city of Mogadishu – a place famous for its cafes and open–air cinemas. When Somalia collapsed into civil war, Tarzan and his young family joined the exodus from Mogadishu, eventually spending twenty years in North London. But in 2010 Tarzan returned to the unrecognizable ruins of a city largely controlled by the Islamist militants of Al-Shabaab. For some, the new Mayor was a galvanizing symbol of defiance. But others branded him a thug, mired in the corruption and clan rivalries that continue to threaten Somalia’s revival. Harding recounts Tarzan’s story and in doing so sheds light on the challenges facing Somalia.

Andrew Harding is a British journalist and author. He has been living and working abroad as a foreign correspondent for the past 25 years. Since 1994 he has been working for BBC News. He began his career in Moscow in 1991 as a freelancer, working for IRN, NBC Radio, Monitor Radio, FSN, The Evening Standard and later for The Guardian and The Economist. Since then he has lived in Tbilisi, Nairobi, Singapore, Bangkok, and for the past 7 years in Johannesburg. Andrew has covered many International events, from the end of the Soviet Union and Russia's parliamentary rebellion to the Asian tsunami and west Africa's Ebola outbreak. Andrew has been visiting Somalia since 2000, and was in Mogadishu during the height of the battle against the Islamist militants of Al Shabab and during the famine of 2011. He is one of the very few foreign journalists to have travelled into territory controlled by Al Shabab and met their commanders, or to have visited (twice) the pirate town of Eyl.

This event will be held in New America's Independence Conference Room. It will not be webcast.

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Copies of the book will be available for purchase by check or credit card.


Andrew Harding @AndrewWJHarding
Author, The Mayor of Mogadishu


Peter Bergen @peterbergencnn
Director, New America's International Security Program