MOGADISHU, Somalia – For many years life in the Somali capital Mogadishu was one of restrictions. Music and dancing were banned under strict Sharia law imposed by al Shabab – an al Qaeda – linked group.
They controlled my capital and held everyone in it a hostage from 2009 until they were driven out in 2011 by Somali national army and African Union forces.
But times have changed in Mogadishu!
Now, people in Mogadishu are using one of the city’s most famous squares for a weekly gathering which is breathing new life into their folk dance traditions.
The once deserted streets of Mogadishu are now is busting at the seams. With many residents of Mogadishu enjoy sun, sand and plenty of fun at Lido beach without any restriction and this is what makes everyone feel they own the capital Mogadishu.
Since August 2011, when the al-Qaeda-linked armed group al-Shabab was pushed out of the seaside city, the capital has been enjoying the relative calm.
The city’s skyline is changing fast with brand new multistory apartment buildings replacing the bullet-scarred houses.
The city is knots of green punctured by blue, red and beige roofs rolling into a strip of bright white sand before falling into the sea.
The Morning Life of MOGADISHU
As dawn breaks and calls to prayer fill the capital, thousands of residents and traders head to the city’s markets, some carrying sacks filled to the brim with goods to sell, others holding large straw baskets to buy these up.
On your way to Bakara, one of the city’s largest open-air markets, you see traders in slacks and sandals or colorful dresses and headscarves sell fruits and vegetables, clothing and cosmetics, camels’ legs and intestines, fuel and many others across the capital Mogadishu.
By the time the market opens at 6 a.m., traders, mechanics, metalworkers, tailors, and hairdressers are already busy chatting with customers. Groups of young men sit together chatting and sipping tea.
The Night Life of MOGADISHU
As the sun sets, the capital takes on another life – one of serenity, recreation, with entertainment in the hotels, at the array of beach hotels and tea houses.
In the suburbs, donkey carts and cattle herds roam the streets, grocery shops and hair salons are open late into the night, while youths play street soccer under solar-powered lights.
Musicians and bands are also re-emerging here, entertaining patrons at night. With some strum the kaban, a six-stringed Somali instrument akin to a guitar but shaped like a calabash.
Every Thursday and Friday, some Musicians entertain patrons cozied up at the Beach View Hotel in Mogadishu, singing about love in sonorous tunes, sings renditions of the country’s music icons.
At Mogadishu’s Peace Gardens, children play on seesaws under the neon lights, as the shrill of their voices breaks the still starry night.
New eateries catch your eyes. During the evenings, the residents gather to share food and drink, an act they say fosters unity in their communities in the capital Mogadishu.
Somali capital Mogadishu is witnessing a construction boom and is now home to several thriving businesses. International investors are also coming in, and the locals are renowned for their industrious nature and entrepreneurship.