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He fled war-torn Somalia aged 5 and lived in a refugee camp – now he’s a TV star and youngest First Citizen of Sheffield
WITH his camouflage jacket and Dr Martens boots, this former refugee turned reality TV star is not your typical Lord Mayor.
But Magid Magid, 28, says he is determined to bring the traditional role into the 21st Century after becoming the youngest person to take up the post in Sheffield.
He is also the city’s first Green Party member to be Lord Mayor, and has already ruffled some feathers by choosing the Superman theme tune and The Imperial March from Star Wars to be played at his mayor-making ceremony.
In his acceptance speech Mr Magid raised a few eyebrows by thanking his mother for ‘putting up with all the s*** he had caused her over the years’.
She worked as a cleaner to support her children after ‘leaving Somalia with only courage, hope and determination’.
He posed for his inaugural portrait perched on the top of stairs at Sheffield’s Victorian town hall, dressed in boots, a white blazer and multi-coloured tie.
His plans for the city include introduc-
‘I don’t fit the stereotype’
ing magicians and musicians to council meetings to liven them up and appointing rapper Otis Mensah as poet laureate. He also wants to record a Christmas song and take part in a cage fight.
As the city’s First Citizen he will be tasked with greeting important visitors. However, he will not toast the Queen at these events because he believes Britain should have an elected head of state.
But he hopes his appointment, and the fact that he is ‘a black, Muslim immigrant’, shows that Sheffield is ‘proud of doing things differently, and celebrating our differences’.
‘I’m going to be innovative, I’m not going to be the normal, stuffy Lord Mayor,’ he said.
He also aims to get into the Guinness World Records for the world’s longest continuous hug next Valentine’s Day, and has written a Christmas song which he hopes to record with local musicians.
He said: ‘People have said I’m disrespecting tradition. It’s from a certain type of person. The vast majority are happy and excited that I don’t fit the normal stereotype.’
Born in Burao, northern Somalia, he fled the country with his family as a child, spending six months in a refugee camp in Ethiopia with his mother and sister before coming to Britain and being placed in Sheffield aged five.
‘My mum was the one that struggled, she was the adult and had to do everything as a single parent,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t speak the language but I just played outside like everyone else and picked it up, often learning the bad words first.
‘It was a case of me just integrating. I’m naturally very social and inquisitive and found it no problem making friends.’
He attended Fir Vale School in Sheffield and admits he was not a perfect student. ‘I did get into a bit of mischief and a bit of trouble. When you’re a product of
your environment people do just get involved and you can become part of it. But I grew out of it quickly,’ he said. After graduating, he ran a digital marketing business before getting involved in local politics. He was elected as a councillor for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale two years ago, spent 12 months as deputy lord mayor and was elected to the top job by council members.
His appearance on Channel 4’s reality TV show Hunted, in which contestants become fugitives and try to avoid 30 investigators, did not quite go to plan. He was captured after running into a Subway sandwich shop wearing a bright blue poncho and failed to win the £100,000 prize.
New home: Young Magid after coming to Sheffield
TV challenge: Going undercover in Hunted
In office: Sheffield Mayor Magid Magid