First Sub-Saharan African elected to Australian Local Government

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Photo courtesy Anab Mahmoud

Anab Mohamud, has become the first Sub-Saharan African to ever be elected in Australian local government history as one of the newly-elected councillors for Yarra City Council.

 “I hope that in the next few years, I see a lot of people of colour [running] because they talk about diversity and inclusion everywhere, but when my daughter looks at a meeting in the parliament, she doesn’t see a lot of representation of people that represent who she is,” she says. Through her election victory and actions as a city councillor, Anab aspires to pave the way for a brighter future for her daughter, hoping that she will be confident to “voice her opinions and follow her ambitions.”

Having fled Somali’s civil war in the 1990s with her parents, suffered homelessness as a teenager, and raised her daughter as a single parent, she has also faced the common struggle that young people from African backgrounds experience: “feeling we are outsiders.”  

Anab Mohamud moved to Australia as a refugee 20 years ago, as the eldest in a family of nine and a single parent to her seven-year-old daughter. Now, she works as a Community Liaison Officer at Fitzroy Primary School, providing support to a diverse school community. Deeply involved in her community, she has helped make newly-arrived migrants feel welcome and has provided them with the means to “integrate successfully into [their] community.” More recently, she has assisted struggling migrants gain access to essential services, such as food banks, financial help, homework clubs, and the internet. She feels a “strong connection to Greens values”, and her experience with public housing has provided her with strong insight into the issues that multicultural communities face in the city of Yarra.

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