Skip to main content

Gone Forever

For centuries the nations leather tanneries have been nestled in Sur Magra El-Oyoun in the heart of Old Cairo. Egypt has a long history of tannery, an industry that generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. However a government decision to transfer the workshops outside of Cairo, which to many, signals the end of a successful industry. We had the chance to visit the neighborhood before being completely destroyed at the end of May 2019.⁣ Tanuos Saad Nessim let us in his workshop, just two weeks before he was finaly relocated.⁣ The working conditions for the mainly coptic men in the last remaining tanner workshops, when compared to European standards, can only be described as catastrophic.

Still most of them share the fear of being relocated. After the 2019 Ramadan, came the final relocation and the end of an Era. The governments plan to relocate tanneries to Rubeiky in Badr City, 40km to 60 km outside the capital, is not a new one. Meeting with vehement protests from the workers themselves, who feel they will be exiled away from their homes. The plan has been shelved several times in recent years.  With Old Cairo suffering from the neglect of the authorities, tannery employees can no longer work under the ever declining conditions, it is clear that most of the workers along with their families will move outside of Cairo only to endure an uncertain future.

Publisher: University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund — Faculty of Design
© 2020 Copyright

Text: Dirk Gebhardt, Lars Harmsen
Pictures: Dirk Gebhardt, (Lars Harmsen, Markus Lange, only for the printed book)
Copyediting: Dirk Gebhardt
Design: Lars Harmsen
Proof reading: William Aaron Horstmann-Craig
January 2020 Slanted Publishers, Karlsruhe, 2020
ISBN: 978-3-948440-05-3