About this submission

This sequence is part of a feature script that explores 'dhaqan celis,' which in Somali translates to "culture return." Under the practice of dhaqan celis, Somali children and teenagers are routinely taken out of their home countries, and brought to “rehabilitation” centres in Africa. The centres promote themselves as “re-education” schools to align young people with Somali cultural values and their Somali roots. The Home Office, however, says they tend not to deliver an academic curriculum and are in fact detention centres where young people are routinely subjected to physical, sexual and mental abuse.

The protagonist, Abdi (a young, gay Somali man from Minneapolis) and his family fled to Minneapolis after increased attacks from extremist groups in Kenya. After being suspected as gay at 15, he ran away from home. He eventually built his own life up from the ground. 6 years later, his mother (Faduma) and father (Saeed) re-established contact. They invited him back home with the promise to look past religious differences, but it was a set up to force him into conversion therapy and religious rehab back in Kenya.

Markus Hoeckner

Join the Discussion