‘The Africans: A Triple Heritage’ – ADIH Documentary Night

Documentary Screening of June

‘The Africans: A Triple Heritage’ By Dr. Ali Mazrui

ADIH Documentary Night

With the start of the Independence Day celebration for many nations in Africa, June shines up as a month of wish come true for many African countries specially for the Horn of Africa with Somaliland being the first to get its independence on 26th of June from its British protectorate status. Hence, what perfect timing will there be to talk about the issue of independence, indigenous knowledge and identity of Africans than this month even though the quest for answer seems a vicious circle with more than a finger count can do to answer it.  Who is an African? Where are African indigenous knowledge and wisdoms? Where does Africa fit in the ever-changing global system? Many more “where” “what” “Who” and “How” for Africa and Africanness are questions been in search for answer as long as the age of the organization of the continental union which has its foundation on the dreams of the early Pan-African advocates which include leaders such as Haile Selassie, Julius Nyerere, Ahmed Sékou Touré, Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara and Muammar Gaddafi, grassroots organizers such as Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, academics such as W. E. B.

Did we get the answers? Not yet even closer in spite of all the changes such as a name and amended vision for Organization of African Unity (OAU) to Africa Union (AU) along with the current initiatives such as African Solutions for African Problems (AFSol), establishment of Panel of The Wise (PoW) as one of the five pillars for AU and its regional organization, nothing yet seem to give a resting point for the quests. The number of people asking “do we even need to define Africanness at this day while aspiring for global citizenry?”  to “What does the African Solutions for Africans Problem really stand for?”  with the inseparable mix of the western and other cultures thanks to the globalization which has a tilted field structure that slides and roll down western norms more on Africans than the things it dropped on the west for countless reasons.

These were the foundations for our Documentary screening of June “The Africans; a Triple Heritage by Dr. Ali Mazrui that guided our academic discussion for the Academic Dialog in Hargeisa session. The Africans: A Triple Heritage is a documentary history, written and narrated by Dr. Ali Mazrui in the early 1980s and jointly produced by the BBC and the Public Broadcasting Service (WETA, Washington) in association with the Nigerian Television Authority. The film series premiered in 1986 on BBC and controversially on local PBS stations throughout the United States. The documentary has a central argument and narration that the triple heritage of Africans is a product resulting from three major influences: (1) an indigenous heritage borne out of time and climate change; (2) the heritage of Eurocentric capitalism forced on Africans by European colonialism; and (3) the spread of Islam by both jihad and evangelism. The negative effects of this history have yet to be addressed by independent African leaders, while the West has tended to regard Africa as recipient rather than as transmitter of effects. Yet Africa has transformed both Europe and America in the past, Mazrui points out, and the difficult situation in which Africa finds itself today (economically dependent, culturally mixed, and politically unstable) is the price it has had to pay for Western development. The series was in nine parts even though the documentary has summarized in a precise manner which are 1. The Nature of a Continent 2. A Legacy of Lifestyles 3. New Gods 4. Tools of Exploitation 5. New Conflicts 6. In Search of Stability 7. A Garden of Eden in Decay 8. A Clash of Cultures 9. Global Africa.

Using the documentary as entry point discussions were directed towards  many point of interest as it touched up on a multilayered issues overthought the highly voiced issue was the state structure of Somaliland where by the indigenous knowledge of conflict resolution through the elders which now is a constitutionalized part of the state structure making the upper house of the parliament named as Guurti in parallel  with the multiparty western democratic system to create the Hybrid government system of Somaliland. Questions and reflections were how much effective this has been and what are the challenges it is creating for the fundamental principles of rule of law, separation of power and accountability among many others. Participant were firm on the fact that these layers of rule and regulations that are reflection of the triple heritage Dr. Mizuri was talking about are a real reflection of the situation in Somaliland now as the Islamic rule, the western rule and the indigenous justice system all are in place hard to say having an effective marriage and are serving the best interest of the community specially the youth and women who are significant part of the society.

Stepping out of the government structure arguments, discussion was also towards even on self-depiction of a Somalilander by proxy any African who has to deal with the same issue due to the colonial legacy, the globalization system and the wish to stay loyal to the cultures and norms of the indigenous founding fathers of the African nations. How do we dress? what language we speak? and what shapes our moral value? are questions that became pandora box than gained a solution in our interesting discussion of the documentary screening.

Of course, it would be an over ambition to address these questions which have been with us for more than 50 years celebrating their power for confusion and remain a question with unpreventable changes just like the years of independence days marked by independent days of nations in the continent. Will it have answer any time soon? we leave it as a question knowing many will keep on asking themselves and use it as a critical mirror to evaluate the changes happening around them until our next socially significant documentary screening of July.

By Tirsit Yetbarek

Academic Dialog in Hargeysa Coordinator

Somali Studies International Association

Somali Studies International Association was established in 1978. It is an organization that has played a central role in defining the field of modern Somali Studies, and since its establishment, it has organized 12 International Congresses, and many other regional and continental conferences. Out of the 12 International congresses, only four took place in the Somali speaking territories. 40 years later, it is high time for SSIA to hold its Congress in the Horn of Africa. In fact holding 2018 SSIA in Hargeysa will enable Somali studies to reconnect with the current reality on the ground. The last time a full congress was held on Somali soil was in 2001 in Hargeysa and in 2007 Djibouti co-hosted.

The initiative would assist young Somali scholars to close the feelings of disconnect they feel with academia as whole and thereby positively encourage young Somalis to be more active and feel ownership over scholarly contributions. Additionally the legitimate subjects of Somali Studies are not necessarily Somali’s who have avenues to participate, object, contribute and debate in the Diaspora, but rather local Somali people in Somali territories that lack the academic platforms to engage with Somali Studies beyond being subjects of study. Holding it here in conjunction with state and private Universities will provide legitimacy and access to a hard reached population. Local Somali scholars are missing two fundamental things: firstly institutions to provide backing of their work and secondly the recognition and platform to showcase their work. For this reason  2018 SSIA congress will be jointly held in Hargeysa by Somali institutions and some western Universities who already work in the Somali territories to benefit key stakeholders. Please read more here.

Documentary Nights – Alternative Academic Dialog Platform

 Documentary Nights!

Alternative Academic Dialog Platform 

Informative messages are packed in many different ways so as to make it well informing, interesting and out of the routine way of presentation. The growing diversification of these means of academic communication channels has proven to be successful in all aspects of human communication. It is in light of this understanding that the Academic Dialog In Hargeysa (ADIH) has set the last Wednesday of every month to be Documentary Night at Hargeisa Cultural Center. This is set as an alternative way of academic discussion the center runs every Wednesdays mainly for PhD presentations that brings PhD researchers and scholars together to share area of studies, methodologies and provide concrete suggestions for the betterment of the academic research conducted in the region.

The Documentary Nights are however different not only in way of presentation but also in terms of attendants since it is an open event that invites the general public to take part in the screening and afterward discussions. Just like the main stream presentation of PhD works that has connected, assisted and provided concrete way forwards to researchers, the documentary screening also has gained prominence and has expanded the outreach of the call for academic discussions in Hargeysa as the number of participants is increasing as the days goes by.  The team behind the selection of the documentaries to be screened has made sure to keep truck of developments in the region along with the international relevance of the stories behind each documentary which sustained the event and managed to increase the participants.

The first documentary screened was the documentary film directed by Iara Lee, “K2 and the invisible footmen” which focuses on Pakistani traditional heroes of mountaineering. Amid breathtaking scenery, the film depicts the everyday sacrifices of porters and the courage of those indigenous climbers who choose to return to scale K2 in spite of past tragedies. In their striving to perfect their craft, these mountaineers provide a fresh look into the cultures and national traditions of Pakistan, a country typically portrayed in the foreign media as merely a land of conflict and sectarian strife. The aim with this documentary for Somaliland audience is in every small looking activities Somalilanders are performing, the chance that art and culture could be a tool for positive image building is the underling message.

Following this we have had several other documentaries of her under the theme of Cultures of Resistance that has art, culture and creativity for addressing the desire for change in different communities. Using her enquiry ‘Does each gesture really make a difference? Can music and dance be weapons of peace?’  In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, director Iara Lee embarked on a journey to better understand a world increasingly embroiled in conflict and, as she saw it, heading for self-destruction.  Hence she recorded stories from IRAN, where graffiti and rap became tools in fighting government repression, to BURMA, where monks acting in the tradition of Gandhi take on a dictatorship, moving on to BRAZIL, where musicians reach out to slum kids and transform guns into guitars, and ending in PALESTINIAN refugee camps in LEBANON, where photography, music, and film have given a voice to those rarely heard, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE explores how art and creativity can be ammunition in the battle for peace and justice”. In addition to this, we were the first to screen Burkinabè Rising, the new documentary from Cultures of Resistance Films that showcases creative nonviolent resistance in Burkina Faso, a small, landlocked country in West Africa, which is home to a vibrant community of artists and engaged citizens, who provide an example of the type of political change that can be achieved when people come together. It is an inspiration, not only to the rest of Africa but also to the rest of the world.

Through music, film, ecology, visual art, and architecture, the people featured in this film are carrying on the revolutionary spirit of Thomas Sankara. In addition to profiling individual artists, Burkinabè Rising documents a festival of recycled art and interviews groups of farmers who are standing up to the encroachment of corporate agriculture. Displaying a panorama of creative resistance, the film shows how the resurgent Burkinabè pursuit of peace and justice manifests itself through cultural expression, permeating every aspect of daily life.

The biography of Malcom x with a very different perspective from what has always been talked about him; civic right advocate but the one that has shown how he has played in the history of Islam is another key documentary screened where by attendants expressed their amusement and surprise long with the relevance.

On 21 February 1965, Malcolm X was shot dead minutes before he was about to address a rally in Harlem, New York. As with the firebombing of his home a week earlier, the finger was automatically pointed at the Nation of Islam with whom Malcolm had split the previous year.

The assassination of Malcolm X spawned the Black Panther Party, and organization that represented the highest point in the civil rights movement that engulfed the US for over two decades. They took Malcolm’s message of self-defense for blacks and translated it into action. During the 1970s they became a focal point for young blacks wanting to fight back against the racist police and state in America. They inspired youth and blacks internationally with their preparedness to fight racism and police brutality. In cycle of autobiography documentary films, the ADIH team is suggestion a reflection on the life and the legacy of Malcom X, and ask –mainly young people in Somaliland- what we can learn today from the legacy of such a great leader.

Upholding its relevance and popularity the next documentary screened by Hargeysa Cultural Centre was The Corporation which is a 2003 Canadian documentary film​ ​written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan,​ ​and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, that examines the​​ modern-day corporation. The documentary was screened considering the move by China and other major Asian business corporations are compet​​ing​ ​to grab the land and to secure exclusive businesses ownership in​ ​Africa, and the African governments have no economic power, and​ ​sometimes necessary expertize, to negotiate properly. The question was ​how this “Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power” can be contained​ ​whi​​le making the necessary progress in Africa? The documentary tries to give this answer to what happened in the Western countries, in​ ​particularly in the USA. What Africa can learn from this experience?  Was the main talk point of the discussion that dwelt on how the multimillion companies deceive, deprive and manipulate system only to serve their interest by setting aside the Social responsibility they are expected is the longest but the most interesting documentary we have screened too.

The last for the time but the least for much more documentaries to come is ‘Stealing A Nation’ which is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base.

The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

‘Stealing A Nation’ was a Granada production for ITV. It was first broadcast on ITV1, 6 October 2004. Directors: John Pilger and Chris Martin. Producer: Chris Martin. the Stealing a nation documentary of the uppermost ignorant and abusive arrangement ever made that has wiped out a whole community from their own land just to serve the interest of the USA military base desire is a knocking thought that most significantly considering the situation we are experiencing in Africa most importantly in the horn of Africa. Djibouti being a battle field for military base desire of the super powers from each corner and the emergence of Somaliland in the port and military base sharing space is what triggered the desire to screen the documentary which clearly served the interest. The participants’ reflection on all the documentaries screened is magnificent as it has opened a heated debate every time we have it. the bilingual language use system we employ on this open conversation day (Somali and English) also has served the purpose of including everyone that attended the screening and be able to express their understanding and questions to be discussed together without language limitation.

This way the academic discussion with a different platform has managed to attain its objective of creating a platform where academic discussion with a well-founded data is developed here in Somaliland.

Shaqo Bannaan – Job Announcement

JOB ADVERTISEMENT

ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN

Title: Assistant Librarian

Reporting to: Head of the Department of Archive             Job Type: Part-time

Duty Station: Hargeysa                                                     Duration: 1 year (renewable)

 

Organizational Background

Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF) is an art organisation based in Somaliland that has the aim of promoting reading and creative writing in Somaliland with a particular focus on youth. For the last ten years, RCF has been organising an annual international book fair in Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland. The HIBF has grown into the largest literary festival in East Africa, attracting up to 10,000 participants each year and writers from across Africa, as well as Europe and the USA. In 2014 RCF opened a permanent cultural centre in Hargeysa, extending the activities of the book fair throughout the year. RCF is recruiting a very motivated and talented candidate, and hereby announcing a new position for Assistant Librarian.

Position details: responsibilities

  1. Library Management
  • Librarianship and Information Management fundamentals and concepts.
  • Practical’s – shelving, library classification systems,  reference queries
  • Practical on automated system (KOHA system is preferred but not necessary requirement)
  1. Library Knowledge
  • Processing of information resources
  • Accessioning of library resources
  • Cataloguing – standards and different types
  1. Library Automation
  • Indexing and citation
  • Collections’ development policy
  • Digital depositories
  • E-information sources
  • Open access resources

Candidates with IT background are desired.

What we’re looking for

  • Strong and effective communicator, both written and verbal, with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work independently, as well as maintain a positive working relationship with other staff.
  • Flexible, gentle and willing to learn and improve.

 Application Procedure

Interested candidates who met the above criteria should send updated applications letter (motivate your interest to get this position and submit in Somali or English or Both), CV and at least two professional references with contacts to recruitment@redsea-online.org not later than 12:00AM of Saturday 21th April 2018 or personally deliver to Hargeysa Cultural Centre, 26 June Street, No. 2, Sha’ab Area, Hargeysa by 06.00PM. If you do send it by email, and you do not receive a notification email, please call 063 3628220 or 065 9853666 for confirmation before the deadline. Please indicate “Assistant Librarian’’ in the subject of the email.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. An identification ID will be needed for examinations. The successful applicant starts to work from the 1st of May 2018.

 

REDSEA CULTURAL FOUNDATION IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

11th Hargeysa International Book Fair

11th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 21-26 July 2018, Hargeysa, Somaliland

We are pleased to announce that the Hargeysa International Book Fair  (HIBF) will held 21-26 July 2018 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. Last year, we celebrated the festival’s 10th anniversary with our chosen theme of Connectivity, this year we start the next decade with our theme of Wisdom. As an organization we have always sort to promote a “connected, open, creative and tolerant society led by wisdom”, and not by emotions; a society that has survived within its own mechanism, culture, heritage and knowledge production. From the 9th century BeytulHekmi (or Dar’ulHekma) in the Islamic Golden Age in Bagdad to the Somali wise men and women who guided the society in the traditional judiciary system, and who governed with authoritative leadership, the virtue of having wisdom as attribute, always gave few people a distinguished mandate to lead. What happened to that virtue? Who are our chosen vanguards today? What do the literature, the traditional oral poetry and arts had to do with the wisdom? Are men of literature loosing their appeal? Do the radical transformation of the Somali society in the recent time deteriorated the essence of wisdom of the ordinary people? These are the questions that we will seek to answer collectively.

Intertwined with this, HIBF2018 will be hosting Somali Studies International Association 22-24 July 2018 (SSIA18), with Somali knowledge production filled by foreign people (something we often ignore) during a period of difficulties of war – it is important to consider how that factor changed Somali literature and how with a young Somali scholars emerging once again to claim their space within Somali knowledge production- this yet again will change and shape our understanding.

Last year we had the privilege of hosting South Africa as our guest country- this year we will welcome Rwanda, a country which less than three decades ago was embroiled in horrific genocide, but which has reemerged as a proud, progressive and leading country in Africa. Rwanda is also reclaiming its narrative and knowledge production and we are pleased to welcome writers, poets and film-makers, but also policy makers and influential people that shaped the recent history of Rwanda.   The parallel between Somaliland’s own difficult recent history and road recovery are many- and with Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame elected as the 2018 chairperson for African Union, it seems that their futures are also intertwined.

We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you to Hargeysa International Book Fair 2018.

Dr. Jama Musse Jama

Director,

Hargeysa Cultural Center

20th March 2018

Academics married with Art

February has a special place in the hearts of Somalilanders specially with young and change seekers are the center of attention for all of the activities in Hargeysa Cultural Center most importantly for the Academic Dialog Session. Looking forward for the celebration of Somaliland youth day on February 20, we Started the month with the session on “Migrants on the Margins: a research project of the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention (OCVP) an institution that is serving as a member of international research partners to the Royal Geographical Society’s Field Research Program that is under way in collaboration with researchers from UK Universities (Sussex, Durham and School of African and Oriental Studies at University of London) to investigate the vulnerability and opportunities of internal migrants from rural and pastoral areas of Somaliland. The research focused particularly on refugees those who are living in three Internally Displaced Camps(IDPs) in Hargeisa (Statehouse, Digaale Camp and Camp A). This three years field research project is simultaneously taking place in four of the world’s most pressured cities, including Hargeisa(Somaliland), Harare(Zimbabwe), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Dhaka(Bangladesh) with the hope to draw on systematic and comparative data on how these patterns and management techniques vary from one city to another.
To present the research’s current status along with basic findings and methodological aspects, we had Dr Laura Hammond (SOAS) and Dr Benjamin Dix (Positive Negatives, an arts-based company working with the project) along with Ms. Ayan Yousuf (OCVP). The objective of the research is to understand the experiences and challenges that the displaced face in moving into the city and trying to find sustainable livelihoods. The research also considered the challenges faced by municipal authorities in responding to this issue.

As a background and basic findings, the researchers presented that Hargeisa city has nearly one million inhabitants and its economy is mainly dependent on remittance and livestock export. Indicating the fact that the local authority is also struggling to improve the city’s infrastructure and public services which are either absent or in a poor condition, cyclic droughts in the country is stated as a factor that further complicated the situation and have forced many rural and pastoral communities to move to the city in search of survival. The researchers further elaborated that whenever there is drought in the country there are new arrivals, who often find themselves in informal settlements. The three sites house IDPs who are mainly from rural and pastoral communities, but the camps differ in proximity to the city Centre, access to services (including water, education, transportation and work), time of establishment and population which made the challenges faced by the IDP to vary accordingly. The State House, established in 1991, is believed to be the oldest IDP camp in the city, housing 4,500 families at the Centre of Hargeisa. In contrast, the newer Camp A looks like a temporary camp: residents live in simple huts of plastic and old cloths with the hope they will be resettle in a permanent location. Finally, Digaale camp, established in 2012, has an estimated population of 900 families and is located 6km outside the city. Unlike the other two camps, the residents live in permanent metal houses built with the support of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC).


On the aspect of the research methodology, the research is using the Q methodology which was devised to allow an individual to represent his or her vantage point for purposes of holding it constant for inspection and comparison. The key to this approach is to consider data in terms of the individual’s whole pattern of responses, a self- reference rather than looking for patterns among people. People and not tests are the variables is the fundamental perspective of the methodology (McKeown & Thomas 1988).
With this methodology, participants are asked to decide what is meaningful and significant from their perspective by using a Q-sort. From this process an essentially relative set of evaluations is produced. The data from several people are then factorially analyzed; this reveals groups of individuals who have ranked characteristics in the same order. This was explained by Ayan Yusuf the senior researcher of the local partner who further stated that they followed the principle to have an appropriate set of statements that come from the concourse that exists around the issue under consideration, as these are the essence of the subjectivity that will later emerge from the sorting of statements by the participants in addition to making sure that the statements used in Q methodology to be representative of the topic so that there are statements that people can agree with and statements that people can disagree. The other aspect of the research which is expected to have unique presentation is that the statements collected and agreed by the informant on the bases the Q-sort method will later be presented as a story line. This was explained by Dr Benjamin Dix from Positive Negatives, an arts-based company working with the project who has been using comic art as a way of presenting research outcomes.


As the research is a work in progress, findings in a generalized form were not part of the presentation. However, the methodological uniqueness and observational issues were part of the follow up questions and discussion. The night also had another mission of providing information on the MSc scholarship at SOAS explained by Dr. Laur Homound the leading coordinator of the scholarship which was an interesting point for the young Somalilanders who has become a major participant of the platform.

The Issue, The Day and The Presentation
Our second presenter for the month was Ebba Tellander a Doctoral Researcher at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and International Institute of Social Studies in the Hauge (Erasmus University Rotterdam) whose PhD project focuses on civic mobilization in Somaliland’s recent history.

Her research is affiliated with the Societal Transformation in Conflict Contexts project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council. She was a Researcher at the Social Dynamics Department and a Communicator at the Communication Department at PRIO. Her previous research focused on the role of the Somali diaspora in Norwegian foreign policy towards the Somali region. Even though she is in her initial stage of her research work, the topic she is working on has managed to pull in many issues and aspect in Somaliland. It couldn’t have been in a better timing to talk about her research area as Somaliland National Youth Day is commemorated every year on 20th of February in remembrance of the youths who play a huge role in the ongoing development in the country. More specifically the researcher is taking the UFFO group as her case study owing to the fact that those youths who were all locally educated initiated a volunteerism program at the Hargeisa Group hospital under the banner of UFFO with the objective of creating sanitary conditions at the then northern Somalia main health facility. This was as struggle and resistance against the then Somalia dictatorial government of Mohamed Siyad Barre who in the 20th February of 1982 arrested and sentenced to death a number of youth in Somaliland that escalated to crackdown by the dictator’s forces accompanied by security agents from the National Security Service-NSS elicited anger by local youths in Hargeisa through unprecedented protest demonstrations. It is in honor of UFFO members and their activities that stimulated resistance to Barre’s oppression by ordinary locals, the government of Somaliland declared 20th February as a national youth day. This is how the presentation of Ebba intertwined with the commemoration as her research is aspiring to investigate peace development through volunteerism-based resistance movement. The feedback from the youth association members who were attending the discussion along with UFFO members themselves enlightened the academic dialog and assisted the researcher to obtain a more digested foundation for her work progress.

Double Celebration for the month
February went more interesting considering the third week dialog session which was held on the commemoration of the International Mother Language day whereby we lunched the first Somali language audio book a translation of “We Kissed the Ground” a dramatic firsthand account of a migrant’s journey from Somaliland to the Mediterranean published by the Rift Valley Institute in 2017.

We also had the launching of Dhaxalreeb (1st issue of 2018) our quarterly bilingual magazine (English and Somali) that will serve as another platform to provide literature, academic dialog and traveling information about Somaliland as you are reading it now. Music performance was also part of the entertainment educational structure of the event.

Concluding the month with the thought provoking documentary of The Life of Malcolm X which has a dimension that has not been given much attention.

The documentary presents how Malcom X played as one of the influential Muslims. The platform has once again served its intention of linking scholars from all corners of the world who has taken Somalia, Somaliland and Horn of Africa as their area of interest with a strong sense of developing academic discussions in Somaliland lead and owned by local scholars and youth. It is not a surprise then that we have grown to 258 people in our mailing list which we are certain will grow more. The attendance by young Somalilanders who the vibrant voice of the discussion are assures the sustainability of this platform as they will be the next presenters with the rising academic aspiration they have. Well with such a celebratory mood of the month of February that shed a light on the academic discussions we had, we are looking forward to the coming presentation with open hand and heart to anyone who is heading to Hargeysa Somaliland to join our sessions be it as presenter or an attendant.
Note. Please notify us if you or anyone in your academic circle is heading to Hargeysa so that we can set a time table for them to be part of the presentation sessions. info@hargeysaculturalcenter.org or tirsit.yetbarek@redsea-online.org

Tartanka Sheeko iyo Shaahid

Sheeko iyo Shaahid: Baratan Suugaaneed – 2018

Tartankii 10aad

Bandhig

Seeska Hiddaha iyo Dhaqanka (Redsea Cultural Foundation) iyaga oo ka duulaya fikradda aasaaska u ah  jiritaankooda oo ah inay ka qayb qaataan wax kasta oo horumarinaya taabbagelinta dhigista, fidinta hiddaha iyo suugaanta; xoojinta fanka iyo farshaxanka; baahinta dhaqanka qorista iyo akhriska iyo gaar ahaan kobcinta qoraalka Af-Soomaaliga, waxa ay soo ban dhigayaan Kulankii Tobnaad ee ku baratanka Sheeko curinta Toolmoon, “Sheeko iyo Shaahid”.

Sheekooyinka ka soo qayb galayaa ma aha isku ujeeddo, mawduuca sheekadu ku socoto waxa u madax bannaan qoraaga. Waxa se sannadkan lagu dhiirri gelinayaa Sheeofaneedda.

Waxa halkan ku lifaaqan xeerka Sheeko iyo Shaahid ee sannadkan 2018.

 

Xeerka

Tartanka “Sheeko iyo Shaahid” waxa qeexaya xeerkan.

  1. Waxaa lagu tartamayaa sheeko Af-Soomaali ku qoran oo aan hor daabicin. Ka-qaybgalka tartanku waa lacag-la’aan; waxana uu u furan yahay qof kasta iyo da’ kasta.
  2. Tartanku waxa uu u furan yahay Sheeko male-awaal ah oo kaliya. Nuxurka sheekada qoraaga ayaa u xor ah. Waana sheeko aan hore loo daabicin (buug ahaan, degellada internetka iyo wargays toona).
  3. Qof kastaa waxa uu ku tartami karaa hal sheeko oo keliya.
  4. Waxa lagu tartamayaa Sheeko Dheer. Qoraalku waa in uu noqon karo buug, haddii hadhow la daabacayo. Qeexidda la siiyey Sheeko Dheeri waa in aan qoraalku ka yaraan 36000 oo xaraf oo u dhiganta 20 bog (boggii waxaa loo xisaabinayaa inuu yahay 30 sadar oo min 60 xaraf ah, qiyaastii 1800 oo xaraf boggiiba). .
  5. Qoraalka waxaa la soo raacinayaa waraaq gaar ah oo ay ku cad yihiin:
    1. magaca qoraaga (ama qoreyaasha),
    2. cinwaanka laga la soo xidhiidhayo (oo ay ku jiraan ugu yaraan lambarka telefoonka gacanta (mobile) ama e-mail midkood),
    3. taariikhda iyo meesha dhalashada,
    4. magaca sheekada uu ku tartamayo.

Waxaa kale oo waraaqdaa lagu soo qorayaa caddayn uu qoraagu saxeexay oo uu ku caddaynayo inuu u yahay qoraaga rasmiga ah ee sheekada curiyey, islmarkaan uu akhriyey, aqbalayna dhammaan farqadaha xeerkan.

  1. Habka iyo goorta qoraalka lagu soo gudbinayo:
    1. Qoraalka waxaa lagu soo gudbin karaa gacanta isaga oo daabacan oo aanay dusha kaga qornayn magaca qoraaga iyo astaan kale toona; waxaa bogga kowaad lagu qorayaa cinwaanka sheekada. Waxaa la soo raacinayaa gal xidhan oo ay ku qoran tahay warbixinta ku cad farqadda 5aad. Waxaa la keenayaa cinwaankan: Xarunta Dhaqanka ee Hargeysa, Waddada 26ka Juun, Shacabka, Hargeysa, inta ka horreysa 8.00 habeennimo ee 15/04/2018.
    2. Qoraalka waxaa iyana lagu soo gudbin karaa isaga oo elegtaroonig ah (pen drive, floppy disk ama se e-mail). Waa inuu qoraalku ku qoran yahay qorme caadi ah (text file editor, tex, MS Word, iwm). Waxa bogga kowaad lagu qorayaa cinwaanka sheekada. Waxaa la soo raacinayaa e-mail gaar ah oo gudihiisa ay ku qoran yihiin dhammaan xogta ku cad farqadda 5-aad. Waxa e-mailka loo soo dirayaa inta ka horraysa 12.00 habeenimo ee 16/04/2018 emailka sheeko@redsea-online.org, loona dirayaa nuqul kale info@hargeysaculturalcenter.org. Qofku waa inuu hubiyaa in e-mail kiisa la helay. Haddii aanu jawaabtaas ku helin muddo saddex cisho ah, waa inuu gacanta ka keenaa sida ku cad farqaddan sare. Haddii aanay suuragal ahayn inuu gacanta ka keeno, waa in uu ka eegaa cinwaanka internetka www.hargeysaculturalcenter.org iyo www.redsea-online.com halka laga la soo xidhiidhayo tartanka oo teleefon u soo diraa.
  • Qoraalladu waa inay soo gaadhaan Cinwaannada Xoghaynta (sida ku cad labadan farqadood ee qodobkan 6) inta ka horraysa 12.00 habeennimo ee maalinta Isniinta 16-da bisha afraad 2018 (xilliga Somaliland). Wax allaale wixii soo gaadha xilligaa dabadeed, kama qayb galayaan tartanka.
  1. Qof kasta oo la aqbalo codsigiisa ka-qaybgalka tartanka waxa la ogaysiin doonaa inta ka horraysa 17/04/2018 in uu yahay tartame; lanana socodsiin doonaa halka uu kala xidhiidhayo faahfaahin dheeraad ah.
  2. Guddiga Qiimaynta
  3. Guddi ka kooban ugu yaraan 3 qof (iyo ugu badnaan 5) ayaa loo saari doonaa qiimaynta sheekooyinka; guddigaasi waxay soo qiimayn doontaa darajada sheeko kastaa hesho iyo ku-guulaystaha kaalinta 1-aad, iyagoo aan ogayn cidda qortay sheekada.
  4. Darajadaasi waxay ku salaysnaan doontaa: bilicda suugaanta; heerka Af Soomaaliga qoran cilmi ahaan; heerka cabbirka mala-awaalka iyo tiraab-wanaagga qoraaga.
  5. Tartame kasta oo toos ula xidhiidha guddiga qiimaynta inta aan lagu dhawaaqin go’aanka, waxay keeni kartaa lumis xuquuqda tartame.
  6. Ehelka tooska ah ee xubin ka mid ah Guddiga Qiimayntu ma tartami karaan, haddii aanu xubinta Guddiga Qiimayntu ka tanaasulin xubinnamadeeda marka ay xubintaasi ogaato in qof ehelkeeda ahi soo tartamay.
  7. Go’aanka Baratanka:

Guulayastaha tartanku waxa uu heli doonaa:

  • Astaan (billadda kowaad) oo qoraaga magaciisu ku xardhan yahay, 1000USD oo lacag caddaan ah, iyo heshiis daabicista buugga (Publishing Contract) oo uu kala heeshiyo soo saaraha Ponte Invisibile (buugfidiyaha Seeska Hiddaha iyo Dhaqanka).
  1. Go’aanka Guddigu waa kamadambays aan laga ashkatoon karin. Guddiga, oo ka koobnaan doonta xeeldheerayaal suugaanta iyo Af-Soomaaliga, waxaa si gaar ah loogu magacaabayaa qoraal kale oo aan dadka la la wadaagi doonin si loo yareeyo saamaynta Guddida kaga iman karta dadweynaha. Waxa lagu guubaabinayaa baratamayaashu in aanay haba yaraatee la xidhiidhin guddida qiimaynta, xitaa si kama’ ah u ogeysiinin mid ka mid ah Guddida, sheekadooda wax lagu garan karo. Eeg qodobka 8c.
  2. Bandhigga Go’aanka
  3. Laba toddobaad ka hor ku dhawaaqsita guulaystaha, Guddigu waxa ay shaacin doonaan qoraayada u gudbay wajiga labaad ee baratanka (shortlisted)
  4. Ku-dhawaaqista go’aanka tartanka waxaa lagu beegayaa Bandhigga Caalamiga ah ee Buugaagta Hargeysa ee sannadkan.
  5. U-gudbayaasha wejiga labaad ee tartanka waxaa si gaar ah loogu marti qaadayaa Xafladda Bandhiga Go’aanka baratanka.
  6. Waxaa xafladda lagu soo marti qaadayaa warbaahiyayaasha waddaniga iyo kuwa kaleba.
  7. Xuquuqda Qoraalka (Copyright) ee sheekooyinka
  8. Xuquuqda Abuurka Qoraalka (intellectual property copyright) waxay mar kasta u dhawran tahay qoraaga sheekada.
  9. Sheekooyinka tartanka ka qayb gala oo dhan maamulka tartanku wuxuu ku sii faafin karaa, kuna daabici karaa buug ahaan ama ku soo saari karaa wargaysyada, degellada internetka, joornaallada iyo si kasta oo uu maamulku markaas u arko wanaag, isaga oo mar kasta xusaya lahaanshaha sheekada ee qoraaga hal abuuray iyo inay ka qayb gashay tartankan.
  10. Sheekada guulaysata qoraageedu waxa uu xaq u leeyahay heshiis daabacadeed caalami ah oo uu la galo Seeska Hiddaha iyo Dhaqanka. Xeer baa qeexaya heshiiska daabacadda buugga ee ay wadagalayaan qoraaga iyo soosaaruhu.
  11. Ka-qaybgalka tartankani wuxuu ku farayaa oggolaanshaha farqad kasta oo xeerkan ka mid ah. Faahfaahin dheeraad ah ka eeg: http://www.hargeysabookfair.com, http://www.redsea-online.com, http://www.hargeysaculturalcenter.org amase u qora e-mail info@hargeysabookfair.com.

 

 

RSOL/K – 001/18 International 14/02/2018

Wednesdays’ evening is taken in Hargeisa!

 ADIH coordinator Hargeisa Cultural Center

        By Tirsit Yetbarek

Wednesdays’ evening is taken in Hargeisa! It is a day reserved for Academic Dialog In Hargeisa (ADIH) event at Hargeisa Cultural Center. The event aims to assist in the production of knowledge in the field of Somali studies, also to act as a network for student and scholars during fieldwork in Hargeisa. Similarly, ADIH aims to help scholars gain a better, more nuanced understanding of Somaliland as a subject of study whilst exposing students to a wealth of locally produced knowledge. The idea of the “PhD Days at HCC” on Somali related issues is also to prepare people for the 40th anniversary of the Somali Studies International Congress which, is due to take place in Hargeisa in July 2018.  So far, we have had 16 PhD level presentations in wide range of areas ranging from politics, economics, linguistics to natural resource utilization by scholars and PhD students who came from universities in different corners of the world.

The event has a special arrangement of presentation where by discussion rather than a hot spot questioning is used on a moon light open space with in the Hargeisa Cultural Center that has an inspiring environment. Participants take ownership in receiving information, sharing their thoughts in a constructive suggestive manner and assist each other in gaining new perspectives that helps at the end to come to common ground with each presentation issues. Only one rule applies here “introduce yourself before you provide your comments “which is aimed at connecting and advancing the bond of knowing each other for more relaxed communication.

Our last three presentations also evolved with similar tone but even got a wider reception owing it to the fact that they were part of the historic, successful and democratic election Somaliland had. All the three presenters were part of the International Election Observation mission as a Sort term observer. First, we had Dr. Scott Pegg Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). His presentation on ‘Twenty Years of De Facto State Studies: Progress, Problems and Prospects’ surfaced issues centering on the struggle for self-determination with in the past 20 years research including Somaliland whereby he stated that the challenge remains constant starting from naming such entities, irregularities in international principles and limitation on new perspective of academic dialog on the area. He further asserted that fundamentally there remains a continued failure to reach agreement on the number of these entities that exist or have existed since 1945. The nuanced and empirically rich academic literature has also largely failed to advance journalists or policymakers’ understanding of de facto states. Yet, the prospects for de facto state studies remain bright. More diverse comparative work, renewed attention to how engagement without recognition might facilitate the participation of unrecognized entities in international politics, a renewed focus on parent state strategies, and increased attention to de facto states and conflict resolution are areas deserving of greater scholarly attention was the pillar point he wanted to pass. Recent developments from Catalonia to Somaliland were discussed with in this presentation framework which lead to heated, informative and interesting dialog night.

With the well ignited appetite by Dr. Pegg’s presentation, we had our following Wednesday dialog with the young scholar Mr.Yusuf Serunkuma who is a PhD student at Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR), Makerere University in Kampala. His work focuses on exploiting the craft and aesthetics of popular culture (poetry, nationalist music, monuments, popular narratives and practices, national celebrations, fliers and symbols of statehood such as the national flag, and recent ethnography, 2015) mostly through ethnography, discourse and literary analysis, Yusuf’s work examines the ways in which Somaliland political identity and national consciousness is mobilized as an independent nation state seceding from Somalia. Using the case study of Somaliland, as a form of de-imagined nationalism, Yusuf then attempts to theorize secessionist nationalism (Eritrea, South Sudan, Pakistan, Biafra, Catalonia, Scotland etc.) as it is distinctly different from other forms of nationalism especially anticolonial nationalism. Participants were impressed with the diverging perspective he was trying to illustrate how identity depiction matters by negating the traditional ‘I am this because I am not that’ which he said unless aspiring nations start centering their self-determination in a way that starts and ends in what they are, he said will still be in a continuous challenge of waiting. In his explanation he stated that in Somaliland’s nationalist project he has two arguments: Firstly, he presents that through its “officially sponsored” popular cultural items (such as the symbols of statehood, monuments, nationalist music and poetry, select events such as the arrest of the Horn Stars returning from Mogadishu in 2015 etc.), Somaliland has constructed a public identity that thrives on an intimate juxtaposition/foil with Somalia. He argues that is perilous as there is potential for nationalist amnesia/violence once the foil disappears. Secondly, that although most of scholarship rightly celebrates the peace and stability in the country of the last 26 years, sustaining the images and histories of violence in its public identity and institutional symbolisms suggests it has remained a country at war.  He asserted that Somaliland ought to build a national consciousness without Somalia as its referent. “my suggestions include monumentalizing cultural and SNM heroes, first presidents, significant historical figures etc.”  Secondly, by defining itself in essentially internationalist terms (democrats, anti-terrorism, victims of a genocide), Somaliland surrenders both the power to define itself in its own terms (say, cultural-traditional) to the international regime of power, which defines those terms.  As well, this has potential to plunge the country into cultural/nationalist amnesia once the terms of the debate shift. On the bases of this presentation participants provided pro and critics by giving example of struggle all over the world which lighted up the discussion. Among the core comments were the international principle of state recognition being binding to have a referent state be it as a mother state or patron which are central in the self-determination process. well his argument popular culture shall be used to identify what Somaliland is as it stands on its own description was concluded with a performance by HCC Cultural Dance team that played ‘Hobbay’.

As the forum is centering Somaliland/Somalia based research with internationally acknowledged methodology and research practice, the three presentations we had resonated on Somaliland statehood and mechanisms for development that coincided with the election the state was on. The third presentation was by Miss Amanda Møller Rasmussen who has a background in Social Anthropology of Development (MA) from the School of Oriental and African Studies as well as in African Studies (MA) from the University of Copenhagen. She has been affiliated to the Centre of African Studies at Copenhagen University as a research assistant and project coordinator. Her research has mainly focused on Somaliland’s fishery sector and its development initiatives, exploring the various economic, social and epistemic networks that surround Somaliland’s fishery development on both a local and global level. During her presentation she stated that although fisheries in Somaliland have seldom caught the attention of scholars or international actors, the successful articulation of a linkage between “Somali piracy” and regional fisheries have led to more and more development attention, resources and technologies targeted at the Somaliland fishery industry. She argues that this has resulted in linking both local and global actors in an effort to securitize the region. Her presentation reflected more upon how these narratives are used to address issues of poverty and fishery development. At the same time, she investigates how these narratives have made the Somaliland fishery industry – a marginal and often unnoticed industry with little influence on the global community – into an arena from where different local and global actors are able to negotiate their interest, positions, and the allocation of development resources in a globalized world. In such a process establishing, appropriating, and re-establishing ideas about potential dangerous fishermen and the legitimacy of international development by linking up to local desires, global agendas, and the development epistemic communities that surrounds fishery development in Somaliland is mandatory was her point to take from the presentation. As always her presentation was also followed by supplementing perspectives and challenges that shadowed fishery which is an industry Somaliland has a wider opportunity for national development.

Well this is ADIH November with Wednesdays’ well spent, academic environment celebrated and the waiting for the next PhD presentation taking over as the last Wednesdays of each month are dedicated to a documentary featuring night that brings the public together to give the dialog another emerging dimension of academic discussion with socially significant documentaries. This week we are screening ‘Cultures of Resistance’ directed by Iara Lee to lead the way for another intellectual dialog and say goodbye to November a month that once again placed Somaliland back on top of democratic practice success story in Horn of Africa a region dominated by fear after election season.

INTERVIEW WITH NURRUDIN FARAH

Hargeysa Ideas II, 2014 – in Conversation with Nuruddin Farah

Ideas do not belong to anyone. They help society to grow up collectively as well as individually, and every member of the society needs them.  Hargeysa Ideas is series of cultural study publications, based on analysis and views expressed by one of the Hargeysa International Book Fair guest artists in each year. Each issue is initially formalized as a live conversation, with the possibility to have question and answers session that involves the public; and in a subsequent moment the guest artist, with the editor, expands the conversation with possible additional questions.

This year the HIBF had as prominent guest Nuruddin Farah, one of the most important African writers and the author of 14 books, amongst them From a Crooked Rib; The Naked Needle;  Yesterday and Tomorrow; Territories; the trilogy: Sweet and Sour Milk, Sardines and Close Sesame; the trilogy: Maps, Gifts and Secrets; the trilogy: Links, Knots and Crossbones, etc. Born in Somalia, he grew up in the Somali-speaking region of Ethiopia, studied in India and the UK, and has long been residing in exile. Now based in South Africa he teaches in the States and travels extensively during the year.

Jama Musse Jama: Nuruddin is here as a guest for the 7th Hargeysa International Book Fair. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Let us start with the Book Fair. This is the first time you join us for the fair. What did you expect to see in Hargeysa and what, after a week-long programme of events, have you observed?

Nuruddin Farah: I expected to find at the book fair a large number of books published from outside the country and was pleased to see that there have been attempts to publish texts written in Somali. Above all, I was highly impressed with the quality of the books published by your outfit Redsea.

JMJ: The imagination was the theme of this year’s festival, which allowed several different people to address the topic from a variety of perspectives. We also struggled initially to agree on how to translate the word ‘imagination’ into Somali : mala’awaal, khayaal from the Arabic, suurayn, etc. Would you like to say something about the theme?

NF: I was very delighted to listen to the ongoing debate between the speakers as to what Imagination meant to them, especially the poems authored by the young men and women who participated from the floor.

JMJ: This year Malawi featured as the Guest Country of the year. We hosted the outstanding Professor Mapanje and Dr. Msiska amongst others. Next year we will be inviting Nigeria as our Guest Country. We insist on hosting an African country as our guest also because we want to open ‘a window’ of communication between young Somalilanders and African cultures and literature. What do you think about promoting cultural ties across Africa as well as with Europe (through the diaspora) and the Gulf of Arabia (due to its geographical proximity)?

NF: I would prefer more close contact with Africa, less with Arabia. Personally I feel much closer intellectually and geographically with our continent and was delighted to see the participation of several of my Malawian friends at the Book Fair.

JMJ: Hargeysa International Book Fair is becoming a truly international event which takes place in a peaceful corner of a troubled region. You met with several friends such as Jon Lee Anderson, brilliant young writers like Nadifa Mahamed and many others, and they were keen to meet and converse with you in Hargeysa. What message about Somali culture do you expect these authors, journalists, thinkers and artists to convoy to their respective communities?

NF: I believe they arrived with little knowledge about the Somali-speaking world and they left with a better understanding of our culture and our worldview.

JMJ: Throughout your stay in Hargeysa for the Book Fair, you also had the opportunity to visit the decorated shelters of the Laas Geel caves. What impressed you about these cultural sites?

NF: I was moved to see the figurines and felt more convinced than before that we, Somalis, have our way of worship, our way of looking at the world long before Islam arrived in our land. And I hope that we will know more about the origins of these shelters and the reasons why they were created in a future to come.

JMJ: Culture shapes individuals’ worldviews and the ways in which communities address the changes and challenges faced by their societies. To what extent do you think culture has become a  priority in Africa and in Somaliland?

NF: Culture tends to bring peoples closer and has also the tendency to create changes in the way we perceive ourselves. It was moving to note how much the Book Fair meant to the residents in this city.

JMJ: The connections between culture, art and development have been increasingly recognized at an international level. For example, UNESCO is deploying an agenda of mainstreaming culture into development, and aims to introduce culture as a priority in a post-2015 UN Development Agenda. Do you think there is an opportunity for culture to take center stage in Somaliland?

NF: It’s been my belief that only by giving more priority to creating written culture, recording our oral literature and by committing more of our efforts to promote the written tradition that we will achieve more developments both in our daily lives as well as in our national cultures. The debate has begun here at the Book Fair and I am pleased to have been a participant in it.

JMJ: A mainstream understanding is that ‘culture is a vector of socio-economic development,’ and  a potential for boosting socio-economic growth and employment through cultural industries. Do you see any tangible contributions that can be gained through promoting culture and heritage in the Somaliland economy and the country’s development?

NF: A lot needs to be done for us to promote the healthier aspects of our culture and to exploit the potential that is there.

JMJ: A second interpretation of the relationship between culture and development is to consider culture as “capacity to inspire”, to develop a decent human being, and to produce sustainable wealth in a process which is “based on heritage, diversity, creativity and the transmission of knowledge” that relate culture to all dimensions of sustainable development. Are we distracted by the globalization in producing profit at all costs, from humanizing the development and focusing on the individual?

NF: Culture, when approached with a more progressive secularity serves as a well-rounded, less limited and less limiting way and not when we approach it from a narrow-minded, constrictive manner.

JMJ: Let’s return to discussing Nuruddin as a writer. You are now living almost permanently in Cape Town, in your apartment, which I imagine is in a silent and comfortable place which gives you time to think and write. What is Nuruddin’s standard daily routine in South Africa? When does Nuruddin Farah write for instance?

NF: If and when possible, I write daily from 9am to 5pm. Sadly, there are continuous interruptions, in that I travel a great deal, away from my comfort zone. But at least I would like to make sure that I spend about six months a year doing the writing in Cape Town

JMJ: I do not want to go back to the same question about why you do not write in Somali.  But you are probably well aware that some people criticize the fact that your writings, and the characters and the places that you mention in your books have Somali names, but are not Somali in spirit and do not reflect the ways Somalis behave. They claim that your characters portray a Western style of life in a Somali context. What is your response to that?

NF: My response is that most of the Somalis who criticize me have seldom read any of my books, because those who do read them, are more kind to my efforts at writing.

JMJ: Is there a specific target audience, or readership in your writings?

NF: Every one of my novel has ‘found’ its own audience and I am pleased to say that there are some readers, foreigners and Somalis who admire them even more than I do.

JMJ: Your books have been translated into a dozen languages, with the exception of Somali. Would you like to see your novels read  in Somali? Are there any plans to do so? Is anyone working on it?

NF: I would very much love to see several of my novels translated into Somali and I hope that Redsea/Kayd will make this happen.

JMJ: I heard a friend of mine who said that when Nuruddin’s writings first came out, people who did not know about him, confused whether the narrator ‘I’ of the story was in fact a women. Where did you gain this sensibility to women’s issues in your early writings?

NF: In truth, the story on which I based FROM A CROOKED RIB is the story of many Somali women and as a matter of fact I even met a woman who claimed that since the story was hers, perhaps I should consider sharing the royalty with her.

JMJ: You are identified as the first writer to break with the Somali oral tradition. Now, Somali literature is in a transition period, shifting from orality to the written word. What are we losing, and what are we are gaining?

NF: The way I see it: I am forever indebted to the Somali oral tradition, which I employ to prop up my writing, assist me in my self-identification with being a Somali. Much of my writing, as a matter of principle, is informed by my borrowing from the Somali oral tradition, despite acknowledging that, as things stand, the Somali oral literature will remain the poor cousin to the written tradition until we organize the recording and dissemination of it via the technological media that are available to us. Even so, with every gain, there is a loss that comes with it. However, in order not to lose much, we must commit ourselves to recording our oral traditions in order to make the transition work to our advantage.

JMJ: I know you do not sympathize with the oral culture and you chose a long time ago to move to the written. On the other hand, Somali oral literature, mainly poetry, is not only rich but also very sophisticated (for instance the scansion system). Are there elements of this oral tradition that need to be preserved at any costs?

NF: It is unfair to accuse me of “not sympathizing” with oral culture. Rather, I do wish to romanticize it.

JMJ: But I heard you labelling the oral literature as the poor cousin of the written literature. Why do you consider it as such?

NF: Because there is something terribly “primitive” about oral culture – and for it to reach more people or even to survive, it cannot do so without technology.

JMJ: Now, on another perspective: is there a specific form of literature that one can call African Literature?

NF: My feeling is that any text written with informed African sensibility belongs to African literature. Africa is a multilingual, multicultural continent and in my discussions I insist that North African literature, whether written in Arabic or French is as an integral part of the continent’s literature as the texts produced white South Africans or other African nationals from the continent’s South of the Sahara.

JMJ: Most of the contemporary African writers are in some way formed and shaped in and by the

West. Can we still call them African writers?

NF: We do and we can and we must. As long as they think of themselves as Africans and their writings as part of the continent’s literary production. I tend to take an inclusive stance and am not enamored of the exclusive tendencies shown by narrow-minded literary critics.

JMJ: Africa is not a country. There are 54 different states, 3000 different languages, … why is there an obsession to talk about Africa as a uniformed society? What do all these countries have in common?

NF: These countries share an African sensibility not found elsewhere. Of course, there are differences among the separate regions of the continent, just as there are differences, say, between Sicily and Sweden on the one hand and England and Italy on the other.

JMJ: In a session of HIBF2014 on “How to write about Africa” you blamed the African writers for not writing enough on Africa. Did you intend the quality of African writing not being developed enough in such a manner to influence the world and change the opinion on Africa, or it is (also) for matter of quantity? We write less than others….

NF: We in Africa produce less writing of exceptional quality than any other continent. That is for sure.

JMJ: You just finished your new book, which will be launched in two months of time. Can you tell us anything about it? At least the title?

NF: The new novel, which is the first part of a new trilogy, is called HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT.

JMJ: Are you working on a new project?

NF: I am currently at work on the second part of the new trilogy.

JMJ: Are you coming back for the next HIBF? We would love it!

NF: I hope to return when Redsea Culture Foundation publishes the translation, into Somali, of my first novel.

 

Djibouti Delegation

Djibouti Delegation led by the President of the University of Djibouti, Dr. Djama Mohamed Hassan, and Advisor of the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Fahmi Ahmed Mohamed, and Mousse Khayre Soubagle of UD, accompanied by top management of the University of Hargeysa paid courtesy visit at the Hargeysa Cultural Centre.

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About

The Hargeysa Cultural Center was opened in August 2014 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. The Center was established by Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF). Since its establishment, the Hargeysa Cultural Center has become an important feature in Hargeysa’s cultural landscape. The success of the center owes much to the respect that RCF has gained from its work on running the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair, which, now in its eighth year, has become one of the most admired cultural events in the region.

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Xarunta Dhaqanka ee Hargeysa