Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Apparent beheading of Steven Sotloff sees more calls for #IsisMediaBlackout

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Lesotho Coup: Exiled Prime Minister vows to return home after fleeing

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors? (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

FOCUS

When water becomes a weapon of war

Read more

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

  • IS video purports to show beheading of second US journalist

    Read more

  • Obama orders 350 more US troops to Baghdad

    Read more

  • Video: Bodies ‘left behind’ as Ukraine forces flee rebel assault

    Read more

  • France vows crackdown on unemployment benefit ‘abusers’

    Read more

  • Frenchwoman reunited with daughter kidnapped by Syria-bent father

    Read more

  • Trust and 'bio-disaster units' needed to fight Ebola

    Read more

  • Could France sell the Mona Lisa to pay off its debts?

    Read more

  • Julie Gayet wins privacy case against French glossy Closer

    Read more

  • Germany blocks popular car pick-up service Uber

    Read more

  • Several UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

    Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Britain drops arrest warrant for ill boy’s parents

    Read more

  • When water becomes a weapon of war

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

Culture

Mogadishu National Theatre holds first concert in two decades

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-20

Somali musicians on Tuesday staged a concert in Mogadishu’s roofless, bullet-ridden National Theatre for the first time in two decades, marking a relative return to calm in the war-ravaged country.

REUTERS - In the roofless, bullet-ridden building that houses Mogadishu's National Theatre, Somali musicians staged a concert for the first time in 20 years, a sign of a marked improvement in security in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country.

Under pressure from African Union and Somali troops, al Qaeda-linked militants withdrew from Mogadishu in August prompting a return to relative calm in the capital, although the rebels still manage to launch sporadic attacks.

On Tuesday the al Shabaab militants launched mortars at the presidential palace - a mere 300 metres (yards) away from the theatre - for the second day running, drawing retaliatory fire from African peacekeepers in some of the heaviest violence to rock the capital's centre in months.

Despite the violence, hundreds of Somali residents as well as the country's senior officials, packed the National Theatre on Monday to attend an afternoon of song and dance to mark the reopening of the building.

Dressed in bright yellow scarves and capes, Somali women sang to the strumming of guitars as the audience applauded, tapped their feet on the steps and waved the Somali flag.

"We are very happy to be reopening our national theatre and singing inside it today. If we are alive, our theatre will be alive," singer Said Daud Ali, sporting a red striped shirt and sunglasses, told Reuters after the concert.

Somalia has been mired in turmoil since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, leaving militants, militia groups and clan leaders all fighting for control of parts of the anarchic country.

Highlighting the threat militants still pose to the capital, armoured African Union vehicles and Somali government troops deployed along the road leading up to the theatre, where Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed took a front-row seat.

"The concert talked about love and politics ... the concert also told us about our past days, the good and the bad. We have to participate in a new Somali history and repair our houses, shake hands and unite," Ahmed told the audience.

"We have to concentrate on peace, education and progress - let's forget the bad events we experienced," he said.

Many Somali artists, actors and singers have fled the violence over the last two decades, especially as al Shabaab cracked down on any forms of art they deemed unIslamic according to the strict interpretation of sharia law that they adhere to.

Ahmed said the government would now support its artists.

"The reopening of the theatre shows a new occasion: peace. Our musicians, singers, poets have had bad days. The government will give them the value they deserve," he said, marking the end of the concert.

Abdullahi Iman, a former actor who was the master of ceremonies at Monday's event, said he returned from Stockholm after fleeing Somalia 13 years ago.

"I arrived this month to evaluate the state of Mogadishu," he told Reuters.

"Somalia is relatively peaceful now but more ruined than before. I will return. I hope this concert marks a good start."

 

Date created : 2012-03-20

  • Somalia

    'Many dead' after Somali rebels ambush Ethiopian troops

    Read more

  • SOMALIA

    Somali, AU forces seize Islamist bases in Mogadishu

    Read more

  • SOMALIA

    Somali rappers take on al Shabaab militants

    Read more

COMMENT(S)