news 08 Jan 14

Sarajevans Mourn Their Much-Loved Shoeshiner

Around 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the erection of a statue to Husein Hasani, the last shoe-shiner of Sarajevo - who plied his trade for decades, becoming a symbol of the city.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Several thousand people have asked the Sarajevo authorities to erect a statue to Husein Hasani, a much-loved shoe shiner who died on Monday of a heart attack aged 82.

“Uncle Miso was a legend of Sarajevo, the last shoeshiner on our streets,” the online petition reads. “Throughout his life he was fair, he helped when he could, and he was one of the best people. He deserves his monument,” it adds.

   
 Čika Mišo, 2005 / photo by Elvira M. Jukic

Miso plied his trade for decades on Sarajevo's central boulevard, Marshal Tito Street. On hearing news of his death, many people brought flowers and lit candles around the chair where he spent his days polishing away and chatting to rich and poor alike.

Miso was not unrecognised even during his lifetime. Several years ago, the city authorities awarded him an apartment.

The Mayor of Sarajevo, Ivo Komsic, recalled Miso as an icon of the city in which he had lived and worked for decades - which he had loved, and which loved him in return.

“Uncle Miso became a symbol of this city,” said Komsic. “He use to say that he knew ministers and common workers, who all come to have their shoes cleaned and talk a bit.”

Komsic added that Miso was a sort of a mayor of Sarajevo himself and that the city will miss him.

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