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Inside the Programme

Kadria Hassan: What happens when cities develop too quickly?

Meet Kadria Hassan, the first Mandela Rhodes Scholar from Djibouti.

Published 2 August 2021

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Kadria Hassan (Djibouti & UCT, 2020) completed her undergraduate studies in Architecture in Turkey. Studying in the metropolis of Istanbul, she witnessed the rapid urban transformation of the city and the challenges brought by this urban regeneration. She discovered that commercial architecture and top-down intervention were triggering an upsurge in projects that altered the socio-spatial structure of the city. After completing her studies, Kadria realised that adequate urban governance and land management were essential for a city to be inclusive and sustainable. She decided to orientate towards urban studies, which she is pursuing at UCT.

In her Masters thesis, Kadria aims to understand informal women traders’ geographies of trading across generations in Djibouti. She is curious about how their mobility changes because of shifting geopolitics and infrastructure developments. Kadria’s research aims to shed light on the importance of women’s intergenerational trading stories and their forms of gendered mobility. It may also contribute to understanding of how infrastructure developments might constrain or benefit the trading practices of informal women traders, as mobility is crucial to their daily activities of buying and selling goods. Kadria’s current research interest thus lies at the intersection of gendered mobility, infrastructure, and informal economy.

Kadria also works in the humanitarian sector. She volunteers in the International Conscience Movement, advocating for the release of women and children detained in Syrian prisons. Kadria values human rights and believes that advocacy and spreading awareness is the key to making a difference. “Being the first scholar from Djibouti has been such an honour and a great responsibility. I hope that it will empower Djiboutian youth to always aim high and to strive for their dreams,’ she says.

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