Minneapolis (SPR): Over 400 Somali Americans gathered at the Safari Banquet Hall, in South Minneapolis to both celebrate Somali Public Radio’s one year anniversary and to support drought relief efforts in a ceremony co-sponsored by SPR and One Girl at a Time, a non-profit that advocates for young children in the Horn of Africa.
Somali Public Radio is Somalia’s first non-profit community radio station, established by Somali Minnesotans who were inspired by Minnesota Public Radio. The radio outlet is currently undertaking media reform that aims to improve service delivery and accountability to Somali citizens. The initiative was drawn from the premise that development and democracy cannot thrive without open and free public space where all issues concerning people’s lives can be aired and debated and which gives room and opportunity for locals to participate in decision making.
“Few years ago it was only an idea (in reference to Somali Public Radio) that came as a result of our dire need for change, the need for a grass roots movement that would steer us away from this state of helplessness and into a mechanically integrated society and hence create a social structure of consensus and unity, “stated Abdiqudus (Donyale), one of the co-founders of SPR in the opening statement.
Giving further details on why the radio was instituted he added, “This ideas intention was to transform our community from apathy and isolation to awareness and active participation. In search for that one thing that would satisfy our goals, we concluded that a nonprofit public radio would go a long way in promoting regional development, as well as cultivating change, the aim of our idea.”
The night which featured poetry, plays, song performances and standup comedy, presented a unique cross-cultural perspective, a combination of Somali traditional arts and American Hip-Hop. The event brought together a community of talent, showcasing Somali sounds of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Celebrated Somali actor and stand-up comedian Abdixakiin B.R co-hosted the event with Mascade, a prominent Somali media figure/reporter. Classic Somali poets, Abdinaasir Shabac and Abdulkadir Mataan took stage and recited awe-inspiring poems. Also young and talented Somali American poets Shirwac Hersi and Abdi-Fatah Phenomenal delivered English poems that discussed the impact of droughts and the hereafter effects. In addition, comical plays were performed with an utmost theatrical talent by Oday Shirwac, Xamdi, Chaltu and Khadra.
Nathan Robert, an American, and advocate for universal development, a founder of a children’s school in Africa and a dear friend with Somali Public Radio was amongst the most memorable speakers. He kept the guest’s mouth open with joy and wonders and added merriment with jokes that pertain to Somali Americans.
Young and talented Axzaab and Jaabir Jar-kabood were among some of the performers along with illustrious Somali singers Ahmed Yare and Dalmar Yare, one of the founders of Waayaha Cusub Band. Somali Rapper Kay was also among the performers who all performed with excellence through D.J Jaylani’s musical moderation.
Somali Night Live; ended with joy as it marked the first communion of Somali arts, literature and music as hundreds celebrated a tradition thousands of miles away.