Syrian refugee on Mzansi: What was once a foreign land is now home

Syrian refugee on Mzansi: What was once a foreign land is now home

- Nano came to South Africa as a refugee from Syria

- As a gay man, Nano experienced abuse from the Arab community

- Nano turned his life around and now considers South Africa to be his home

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Adnan Al ‘ Nano’ Mouselli, 25, fled Syria to seek refuge in South Africa, fearing his fate if he stayed in the war-torn country. Leaving his home and everything he knew behind was one of the most difficult decisions Al had to make.

Nevertheless, with barely a penny to his name, the courageous young man journeyed across Africa to find asylum in Mzansi.

Nano fell in love with South Africa which eventually became his second home and a place where his artistic talents could thrive. At first, to make ends meet, he sold fruit and veggies, work which has become intrinsically part of its culture, Briefly.co.za found.

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But his journey to success was fraught with challenges, traumatic experiences and his options in the country as a foreigner was limited.

"The 17th of January, 2015 - that's when I arrived in Cape Town seeking asylum. I wanted safety so badly that I was ready to remove and erase everything I know about myself in order to survive this new world. I had R500 (equivalent to $35) - and that's it." Nano writes in his blog.

To work through his experiences and to make sense of the hardships he had to endure, he bravely began expressing himself through an online diary called, Diary Of A Gay Arab. Through his beautiful and touching blog, Nano opened up about his personal journey, both physical and emotional.

READ ALSO: ‘To me, nothing is impossible’: Man lost hearing then built an empire

Nano writes that, along with war, he has endured physical abuse from his father and sexual assault. He hopes that in doing so, other people in similar situations can feel supported and people can become more aware of the plight of the Arab queer community.

Although his journey in South Africa has been more than anyone should have to endure, Nano turned a tragic situation into something beautiful.

He had no-one when he first arrived in Mzansi, reported Beautiful News. but now, he is a professional Interior Designer. Al saved up money and began learning design. He says design has become a way for him to express what he cannot say with language.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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