SHEFFIELD – Inaugurated as the Sheffield’s Lord Mayor, Magid Magid has become the first Muslim, and the youngest ever, to hold the ceremonial role in the north of England city.
“It’s kind of a message of hope,” 28-year-old Magid told The National.
“When you think of a lord mayor, you tend to think of the stereotype of an older person, probably of white descent and there are a lot of people who are really excited and really looking forward to it.”
As a five-year-old child, who could not speak English, Magid immigrated to the UK from Somalia.
Having experienced racial abuse during his school days, he is currently working to make a difference.
“No one would really say it to your face,” he said. “It would always be in passing or from a car or something like that. But I still remember the first time someone said a racist comment to me. It’s quite funny, actually – someone who was driving past called me a ‘walking, talking chocolate bar’.
“And I just started completely laughing. I thought it was, like, so ridiculous and funny at the same time. It just didn’t faze me.”
Wearing a T-shirt and shorts to meetings of the full council, he intends to enjoy politics while making a change.
“In a town hall they have a room called the ante and they’ve got portraits of all the lord mayors since 1824 or something,” he said of the thinking behind his portrait.
“And I thought ‘this picture is going to way outdate me’ and I looked at all the others and they were so boring – literally just a headshot and that was it – and I wanted a picture that told a story and said so much more.
“Politics can be a thankless job, but it should never be a joyless job. So I’m always wanting to have fun. And just to amuse myself as much as anyone else I thought ‘I’ll play the Imperial March [from Star Wars] as I’m coming out’”.
He hopes to use his success to bring more diversity to British politics.
“The people who represent us and speak for us are not representative of our backgrounds and society … I’d like to think that people will see me getting elected will think ‘wow, I can do that too’.
“I think it would be so selfish to be fortunate enough to get to where I am today and not be able to support and help other people from my kind of background who have the same sort of struggles as me.
“If I can empower and inspire them in any way that would be amazing. I do feel it’s my duty to fight for their cause because I was them yesterday and they could be me tomorrow.”