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Uploaded on Feb 9, 2012
"Being seen as a slave led me to stop loving that place". Osman Mwale Macheremu, whose nickname is 'Kizito', was born in Somalia and raised by Italian missionaries there. Ethnically he is Bantu, his ancestors having been trafficked to Somalia from Tanzania by Arab slavers. In the early 1990s, after civil war broke out in Somalia, he arranged for his wife and daughters to travel to Tanzania to find safety there. He could not join them because he needed to care for his aged parents, who were too old to make the journey. Nine years later, after his parents passed away, Kizito finally set out on his own to join his family, overcoming dangers along the way while traveling through insecure parts of Somalia and Kenya. His wife was waiting for him once he arrived. "She told me I should not have worried," he recalls. His daughters had been able to find schooling. "This made me so happy." Kizito recently obtained full Tanzanian citizenship under a naturalization program that was facilitated by UNHCR and that has provided citizenship for just under 3000 Somali Bantus of Tanzanian descent now living in Tanzania. "To be considered a slave (in Somalia), led me to stop loving that place," he said. To learn more about refugees, please visit www.unhcr.org.