Born in 1937, Salama has been working in his dye workshop near the 14th century Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque for 73 years. He arrives in the workshop at 6am and stays until as late as he has to. Currently, he employs 12 people. They dye cotton and silk for use in clothes, upholstery, and curtains.
“Integrity is important," he says. "With integrity I can produce what people want, and develop my business. Without integrity, there is no business.”
“The neighbourhood has not changed. What changes is when the craftsman die, the craft dies too. The majority of parents here tell their kids to work in offices and work at desks.” Despite this, his sons and girls are learning in the tannery.
“After Nasser came Sadaat, and then it became chaos because Sadaat liberalized the Egyptian economy and exported Egyptian workers. Globalisation has definitely affected the Egyptian economy negatively. And it even affected the father-son relationship. Before, sons would give their salary to their father. When Sadaat came with globalisation, it changed. It was all about 'me and my life'. The father-son relationship was affected. And a lot of jobs were lost.”