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Home Away From Home

29 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 09 July 2013

At the end of the 19th Century working on the steam ships of the British Empire was an attractive career choice for seamen from Somaliland. Many came to Cardiff and found work in the docks heaving the coal that powered those ships. They first settled in Butetown in 1890.

A vibrant community grew - centred on the docks and the mosque. But the last coal was shipped out in the 1960s. Cardiff docks are not what they were. Butetown has been redeveloped and work is scarce.

The older generation of Somalis has, in recent years, been joined by new immigrants, refugees from their war-torn homeland. Their experiences and expectations are very different, as the production De Gabay recently made clear. This was a day-long, dramatic festival with National Theatre Wales, in which young poets from the Somali community performed all around Butetown.

Urban historian Mike Berlin, meets Somalis whose families have lived in Butetown for a century and more recent arrivals tell their stories, too.

(Picture: Dockside cranes, Cardiff, 1907, Credit: Getty Images)

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