Born in Kismayo in Somalia 25 years ago, Anab Abdi Ahmed now works as a radio presenter in neighboring Kenya. Radio Netherlands spent a morning with Anab and spoke to her about what she thinks of her country, 50 years after gaining independence.
By Kassim Mohamed
It’s just a few minutes before she goes on air but Anab appears calm and collected. She goes round the newsroom exchanging greetings with her fellow colleagues and finds time to explain what her work as a journalist entails.
“I present mainly development issues and things that interest or affect women. I do this because women, especially the Somali ones, face loads of challenges. I want to make sure their voices are heard and that they can share ideas among themselves."
Anab fled war-ravaged Somalia in December 2007 where she was a presenter at HornAfrik Radio. She was facing constant threats from warring factions.
“It was a terrible time. One group comes and asks “why did you say that about us?” Al-Shabaab also banned female presenters from going on air. It was hard and after several threats I had to flee and that’s how I came to Kenya.”
It's now been 50 years since Somalia gained its independence from Italy on July 1st 1960. But the country has been in a political limbo for the last twenty-one years.
There has been no central governance since the late Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.
The current transitional government is struggling to gain control of the capital Mogadishu. Militant groups have emerged and aid organisations are overwhelmed by the humanitarian crisis.
Safer under colonial rule
“My four siblings plus my mum and dad are still in Kismayo, living under pressure. From what I heard from my parents, the fruits of independence were sweet until 1990 but as far as I am concerned, the fruits are sour because I have hardly enjoyed peace in my home country. Would I wish the colonial powers came back? I believe Somalia would be safer then than it is now,” she told Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
Lamenting the need for peace in her country, Anab is optimistic that peace will prevail in her country. In the meantime, she lives with her aunt who also fled to Kenya from Somalia.
“I am physically here but my mind is always in the streets of Somalia. I dream of the day I will re-unite with my family members and relatives. I believe the next 50 years will bring us stability and a country we can proudly call Somalia, because currently we have none.”