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London has been connected to Somalia for many, many years, through its involvement with the British Somaliland protectorate. The first Somali immigrants were seamen and merchants who settled in London (as well as Cardiff and Liverpool) in the late 19th century. More recently, civil war in Somalia during the 1980s and 1990s has increased the number of immigrants as asylum seekers, particularly women and children.
Estimates suggest there are around 70,000 Somalis living in Greater London at the moment.
Rageh Omaar made his name during the Iraq War; he now works for the London division of Al Jazeera English, and hosts his own monthly investigative documentaries called The Rageh Omaar Report.
Are you interested in Somali culture? You can find many Somali-oriented restaurants and cafes in the Southall area of London.
In addition, you can sample Somali food and culture at Kingsley Hall in Powis Road later this month.
The Three Bees Café is holding a Somali Food and Culture Evening on Tuesday 18 October, between 4pm and 7pm, with wonderful, wholesome food prepared by the Somali ladies who use Kingsley Hall. As well as a food demonstration at 5pm, there’ll be a quiz at 6pm. Visit the Kingsley Hall facebook page to find out more.
Do you know anywhere else in London you can sample Somali culture? Let us know in the comments below.