The Akhdam


The Akhdam, a social group in Yemen are said to be the descendents of a pre-Islamic Ethiopian army that invaded the country more than 1500 years ago. They remained in the country as slaves and servants once the occupation ended, and subsequently became the lowest rung in the Imamate's caste system. When the Imam was overthrown during the revolution in 1962 slavery in Yemen was officially abolished, yet the stigma of being a member of the "Akhdam" remains. Set apart by their African features, they face much discrimination, and are mostly confined to menial labor. Most of the Akhdam live in slums, known as 'mahwa', on the outskirts of Yemen's largest cities.


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