Magid Magid | Sheffield’s unlikely Lord Mayor
Magid Magid came to Britain at the age of 5 after fleeing Somalia. Growing up in Sheffield, by the time Magid was finishing school, he found himself working 12 hour shifts at different factories. He wanted to make enough money to pursue things he was passionate about; travel, scuba diving and more.
During this time, however, a deeper concern started poking at Magid. He knew he was working a lot, but he needed to do something that could open up opportunities for the long haul; Magid knew he had to go to university. There was only one problem; Magid had no clue what to study. Considering accounting, finance and all the usual culprits – no degree appealed to him except one: Aquatic Zoology.
We know what you’re thinking. Aquatic Zoology – is that even a degree? As amazing as that is, what we found to be even more fascinating was how this Aquatic Zoology major would end up as Lord Mayor of Sheffield. University became an entry point for Magid to speak out for issues he believed in. Never embroiling himself into the politics of it all, Magid knew that he cared about key issues and he knew he was going to do something about them. And so he did. Uncertain at first, Magid ended up running for the President of the University Union and won – a landslide victory at that.
What this opportunity sparked in Magid took him a lot further than campus activism. Sharing a lot in common with the Greens, particularly their views on education, bottom-up structures and ethical funding, he volunteered actively and was eventually elected as a counsellor for the Greens. By 2017, Magid was elected by 3 other counsellors as Lord Mayor – yes, it’s as fancy as it sounds.
As we sit with Magid on The Transit Lounge, he describes how being a Somali Muslim in the public eye is no easy feat. He’s faced petitions to have him removed, smear campaigns and has even received death threats. Through it all, Magid maintains the same steadfast attitude – “This is who I am, you either take me or leave me”. He voices this same advice for struggling young Muslims – ‘believe in yourself, stay steadfast and be smart’.
On episode 11 of The Transit Lounge, Magid tells us more about his famous inauguration picture, how he adds his own flavour to century old traditions and the ways in which he connects to young people as a Mayor.