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Sheffield's Badass New Lord Mayor Is Also a Former Refugee

He’s become an overnight internet sensation, having chosen to pose for his mayoral portrait squatting on a pillar in Doc Martens with a massive grin on his face. 

And Sheffield’s new Lord Mayor Magid Magid — a.k.a. Magic Magid on Twitter — definitely seems to live up to the hype. 

First off, he’s the city’s first Somali mayor. He was born in the northern city of Burao, but had to flee the war-torn country with his mother and five siblings. They then lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for six months before they arrived in the UK. 

Take action: Refugee? Migrant? Human Being. Show Your Support for All People — No Matter Where They Were Born

“I remember just being happy,” he told the BBC about his childhood, “playing around as you do as a kid, but in reality it was a completely different story.” 

He was just five years old when his family arrived in the Burngreave area of Sheffield, looking for “a better life.” 

“Me and my family moved to Sheffield from Somalia when I was five years old to look for a better life and it was this great city I call home that welcomed me and many others like me,” he said on Twitter on Wednesday. “Holy shit, this is surreal!” he later added.

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“Fast forward to today, and I am honoured and privileged to have been given the highest honour that can be bestowed upon any citizen in this city,” Magid continued. “But I am not arrogant enough to think that I made it here all by myself.

“I want and need you all to known that today is as much of a celebration about YOU as it is about me,” he said. 

When his family first arrived in the UK, Magid's mother worked as a cleaner while he and his siblings helped her with English, as they had picked it up much quicker than she had. 

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By the age of 19, he chose to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, which he's said is just “how I like to do things. I like to look for solutions to barriers, and being courageous and brave is part of being able to do that.”

But it wasn’t until he studied marine biology at Hull University that he became interested in politics and activism, before being elected as president of his Students’ Union.

In 2016, Magid was elected as a councillor for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, and he’s previously been the deputy lord mayor for a year.

Magid’s also only 28 years old — also making him the city’s youngest mayor. There have already been 121 of them, so this is no small feat either. He’s also the city’s first Green Party mayor.

Read more: Paddington Bear Is a Perfect Model for How to Treat Refugees

He’s said he wants to bring the role of Lord Mayor “into the 21st century” and added that “just me being in the post brings an element of difference to the role.” 

That was made pretty clear when he was sworn into his new role at the annual mayor-making ceremony to the tune of the Imperial March from Star Wars and to the Superman theme tune, according to the Sheffield Star. 

And he’s also probably the city’s first Lord Mayor that’s appeared on the Channel 4 reality show “Hunted,” which he has said he hopes “will help engage those that have not previously engaged before.” 

In his role as Lord Mayor, Magid is expected to support three charities. He’s opted for the mental health organisation Flourish; the Unity Gym Project, which works to improve the health and wellbeing of physically inactive people; and the Sheffield Women’s Counselling and Therapy Services

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