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Soo Dhawoow


The Project
Sabine's Story
The photographer
The photos


'Dhulka Hooyo' Project (engl.: motherland or homeland) is an online photography project which displays photos of 1980s Somalia. The aim is to celebrate the history of the country's rich culture, stunning landscape and its beautiful people. More often than not, Somalia is still viewed solely in the context of conflict, suffering and instability. This digital gallery paints a picture of the vibrant life taking place in Somalia more than three decades ago. The Dhulka Hooyo Project offers a glimpse of the beauty that was before the war. The same beauty that is taking shape again today. 


All of the photos published as part of this project were taken by, or of, my mother Sabine, who travelled to Somalia in 1985 and 1988. Since then, the pictures have been hidden away in family photo albums. We hope that people who didn't know much, or mostly negative, things about Somalia are able to discover something new.


To all Somalis across the globe: soo dhawoow! The Dhulka Hooyo Project aims to preserve part of Somalia's cultural heritage, and - above all - to pay tribute to the resilience of the Somali people. 

Sabine's Story

My mother Sabine was born in West Germany. She grew up in the post-war period as the third daughter of two refugees from Silesia. Photography, literature and languages are all things she has always been passionate about. In her twenties, she combined study with travel and a career in teaching. 


In the 1980s, Sabine met my father, and - as a result - her path led her to the most Eastern point of mainland Africa. In 1985, Sabine got on a plane via Moscow to Mogadishu, a place she knew very little about. With her Voigtländer Vito camera at hand, my mother set foot in Somalia and started documenting the beauty she encountered.

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