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Somali Culture

The varied cultural life of the Somali includes both traditional activities and, especially in the towns, many modern interests.

Cultural activities primarily consist of poetry, folk dancing, the performance of plays, and singing. These traditional activities still retain their importance, especially in rural areas, and are practiced not only at family and religious celebrations but also at state ceremonies. On such occasions traditional local costume is generally worn.

Especially in the towns, traditional culture is rapidly being superseded by imported modern influences, such as television and videotapes, cinema, and bars and restaurants. Urban Somalian cooking has been strongly influenced by Italian cuisine, and young townspeople are much influenced by Western fashion in the way they dress. Football (soccer) is a very popular sport.

There are many famous Somali artists, poets, musicians, actors, and dancers, some of whom live in exile. Nuruddin Farah, whose novels are written in English, has achieved international fame.

Somalia produced a large amount of literature through Islamic poetry and Hadith from Somali scholars of the last centuries. With the adoption of the Latin alphabet in 1973 numerous Somali authors have released books over the years which received widespread success, Nuruddin Farah being one of them. Novels like From a Crooked Rib and Links are considered important literary achievements which earned him the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Cultural institutions in Mogadishu are the National Museum , the new Historical Museum , and the National Theatre. The Somali Academy of Sciences and Arts promotes research on Somalia .

Somalia has the distinction of being one of only a handful of African countries that are composed almost entirely of one ethnic group, the Somalis. Traditional bands like Waaberi Horseed have gained a small following outside the country. There are two bands of Somali Jareer in Jilib District Shanbara and Shimama. Others, like Maryam Mursal, have fused Somali traditional music with rock, bossa nova, hip hop, and jazz influences. Most Somali music is love orientated.

Toronto where a sizable Somali community exists replaced Mogadishu (because of the instability) as the centre of the Somali music industry, which is also present in London, Minneapolis, and Columbus. One popular musician from the Somali diaspora is K'naan, a young rapper from Toronto, whose songs talk about the struggles of life in Somalia during the outbreak of the civil war.

Media of Somalia

Somalia 's disintegration is reflected in its media, which is undeveloped, fragmented and often partisan. Broadcasters and journalists operate in an atmosphere which is hostile to free expression, and often dangerous.

Journalists defy danger to serve their audiences. In spite of this, diverse and more professional media outlets have emerged in recent years - in particular, FM radio stations with no explicit factional links.

The TV and press sectors are weak and radio is the dominant medium. There are around 20 radio stations, but no national, domestic broadcaster. Many listeners tune to Somali-language media based abroad, in particular the BBC Somali service.

In secessionist Somaliland and Puntland the authorities maintain a tight hold on broadcasting.

The press

Qaran - Mogadishu
Xog-Ogaal - Mogadishu
Codka Xoriyadda - Mogadishu
Ayaamaha - Mogadishu
Jamhuuriya - Somaliland
Mandeeq - Somaliland
Somaliland Times - Somaliland , English-language weekly


Universal TV - Private, UK-based
Somali Telemedia Network (STN) - Private, rebroadcasts Qatar-based
HornAfrik TV - Private, rebroadcasts Al-Jazeera, CNN
Somaliland National TV (SLNTV) - owned by Somaliland government
Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) - private, Puntland


Radio Mogadishu - FM station operated by transitional government, coverage limited to the' capitalRadioHornAfrik - Popular private FM station based inMogadishu , rebroadcasts BBC. Radio Shabelle - Private FM station in Mogadishu, Marka
Radio Banaadir - Private, Mogadishu-based FM station
Holy Koran Radio - Private, Mogadishu FM station
Radio Simba - Private, Mogadishu
Radio Hargeisa - Owned by Somaliland government, via FM and shortwave
Radio Galkayo - Puntland
Voice of Peace - Puntland
SBC Radio - Private, Puntland

Websites (Uncountable) most of those sites are managed Somalis overseas - Private, organized by Somalis in Sweden - Private, organized by Somalis in Ottawa – Canada - Private, organized by Somalis in (no data) - Private, organized by Somalis in Ottawa – Canada - Private, organized by Somalis in Netherlands - Private, organized by Somalis in (no data) - Private, organized by Somalis in Montreal – Canada - Private, organized by Somalis in CA– USA - Private, organized by Somalis in – Canada Private, organized by Somalis in London – UK - Private, organized by Somalis in London – UK - Private, organized by Somalis in Finland - Private, organized by Somalis in London – UK

Researched by: M Hussein

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