Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger : Top Oppostion figure to be questioned in baby trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call back

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000

Read more

WEB NEWS

'Ice Bucket Challenge' angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

#TECH 24

Tomorrow's Transport Today

Read more

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    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)