Century old History - Aftaag Legacy Documentary

The Somali community is one the longest standing ethnic minority communities in Wales, it is also one of the least well known. Estimated to be around 8,000, the Somali community in South Wales mostly lives in Cardiff, predominantly in Butetown, Riverside, and Grangetown. Arriving in Cardiff to work in the Docks from the end of the nineteenth century, the Somali community has been boosted since the 1990’s due to the outbreak of the lengthy civil war in the Somalia.


Amongst those arrived in1990’s are Dualeh brothers, Said and Coach Mohamed, the third generation of an unknown hero who helped the liberation of his country from Colonial rule in 1960. The brothers have heard so much about their grandfather, to a point where the idea of documenting the life and legacy of Dualeh Mohamed Aftaag was born. One may rightly ask why?


Who is Dualeh Mohamed Aftaag?

Dualeh Mohamed nicknamed Aftaag was born and grew up in a small town in the north of Somalia, a place where back then was under the British colonial power. This has played an important role in shaping his political belief and his life-time anti-colonial stance.


In the early 19th century, Aftaag came to Cardiff which later became his home, he fell in love with a half Irish, half Brazilian woman; they got married and had two sons. Shortly after his arrival, Aftaag perfected his English to an academic standard and French which was the language of diplomacy in his era, in order to advance his mission for liberating Somalia from Colonial powers. In mid-30’s, Aftaag became the head of Somali Youth League (SYL) in the UK, a movement responsible for Somalia’s Independence.


Professor Drake Sinclair, Historian, Author, Lecturer, Comedian and pan-Africanist stated “if Dualeh Mohamed had any formal education; he could have been a Prime Minster of any country”. 

Mr. Keith Abdi, a local resident said “Dualeh Mohamed was a dignified gentleman, highly respected, articulate and effective leader”. 

Mr. David Shipper, a local pensioner, Historian, and anti apartheid activist described him as the founding father of Somali politics in Wales and UK. 


The prime objective of this documentary is to unravel 100 years of history, for that reason the brothers initiated an in-depth research into the life and the legacy of Dualeh Mohamed, who was a quiet, gentle but courageous man. To many people Aftaag will always be remembered for his uncompromising anti-colonial stance throughout the test of time and his campaign to free Somalia from colonial rules.


History of the Project (Aftaag Legacy)

The idea of making a moving documentary has been in the minds of the Dualeh brothers and has been in their conversations for several years; therefore, Said and Mohamed Dualeh approached the National Theatre Wales for assistance. Gavin Porter, a Creative Associate of NTW helped the brothers submit a grant application through Wales Lab in late 2012.


Early January 2013, Dualeh brothers were invited to give a presentation explaining why the National Theatre Wales should support Aftaag Legacy documentary. 


National Theatre Wales was impressed with the project idea and delighted to offer support to develop Aftaag Legacy. The Support for this development period included:-

1. One week of paying the brothers to research, collect materials and record interviews.

2. Transport expenses for the brothers to go to National Archive in London.

3. National Theatre Wales would endeavour to find an appropriate documentary scriptwriter to advise the brothers on the project (Aftaag Legacy documentary).


Since then, the Dualeh brothers, sadly lost both of their parents within the year of 2013, “May God rest their souls”. However at the beginning of 2014, Simon Coates, Creative Associate of NTW, arranged a meeting between the Dualeh brothers and Liana Stewart, Documentary Director at the head office of National Theatre Wales to discuss the best way of making the Aftaag legacy documentary a reality. It was agreed that the Dualeh brothers will spend four days with Liana Steward working on the documentary in the week starting from the 20th of January 2014. It also agreed that this project idea is so fascinating that main TV channels will be very much interested to broadcast.


What happened next?

Dualeh brothers and Liana Stewart agreed to produce a treatment and taster for the documentary. The treatment will contain the following:-

  • Aftaag Legacy was renamed as you will find out from the taster.

  • Synopsis

  • Dualeh Mohammed Biography

  • Dualeh Mohammed Timeline

  • Who is in the documentary?


The four days that we worked on making the taster and writing up the treatment have been very interesting, educational, inspirational, enjoyable and great fun for the brothers as well as the documentary maker.


Said and Mohamed Dualeh were glad that they chose Miss Liana Stewart as their documentary maker. Liana is a young lady with a natural talent in documentary making, she also have a wealth of experience in making impressive short films and extensive knowledge of how to produce sophisticated films or documentaries, therefore, Said and Mohamed were honoured to have Liana, as our director, mentor, and coach in the making of "I am born today or Aftaag Legacy documentary". Dualeh brothers are always grateful to National Theatre Wales for finding someone like Liana Stewart as our director and supporting us to accomplish our goal of documenting the life and legacy of our grandfather, Dualeh Mohamed Aftaag.


Liana Stewart said this documentary will be a great piece of television and worthwhile watching.


Appreciation and Gratitude

Dualeh brothers are grateful to:-

  • National Theatre Wales

  • John McGrath - Artistic Director

    • Simon Coates – Creative Associate

    • Gavin Porter – Creative Associate

    • Devinda De Silva - Head of Collaboration

  • Liana Stewart - Documentary Director

  • Our Contributors

  • Mr. David Shipper    - A local pensioner, Historian, and anti apartheid activist

  • Mr. Keith Abdi - a local resident & community activitist

  • Mr. Abdiaziz Ali – a community activitist

  • Mr. Hudaydi – Somali Legendary Musician

  • Ms. Farida Mohamed - A local pensioner

  • Mr. Hussein Mohamed - A local pensioner

  • Mr. Ibrahim Dualeh Mohamed – our late father

  • Dr. Neil Sinclair – Historian

  • Many others

    • Professor Glenn Jordan Director of Butetown History & Art Centre


Enjoy the taster!

 Click here to see the taster!



Any feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated! Please send your comments to

Dualeh brothers or Liana Stewart as shown below:-

  • Mr.Said Dualeh                              - Director of Aftaag Legacy  - saiddualeh@yahoo.co.uk

  • Coach Mohamed Dualeh               - Producer                            - midualeh@hotmail.com

  • Miss. Liana Stewart                        - Documentary Director       - lianaosestewart@gmail.com

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Comment by Gavin Porter on May 21, 2014 at 3:02

Well done Said and Mohamed, I look forward to seeing the full length version

Comment by Guy O'Donnell on May 17, 2014 at 0:30

Many Thanks for posting this blog and the link to the video.

I really enjoyed watching it and the footage of Tiger Bay.

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