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An optimistic Hiba Nura looks to Somalia's future
Saturday, October 05, 2013

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Singer-songwriter Hiba Mohamed Huddon, better known as Hiba Nura, returned to Somalia last month after an absence of more than two decades.

In the late 1980s, Hiba was part of Waaberi, a famous Somali group known for its popular performances at Mogadishu's National Theatre and its distinctive nationalistic-themed songs and plays.

At the end of 1990, Hiba travelled abroad and was still out of the country in January of the following year when the Somali government collapsed, forcing Waaberi to dissolve as group members fled the country.

Hiba, now in her 60s, returned home September 10th to Mogadishu from Germany, where she had moved after the war.

She sat down with Sabahi to talk about her visit and share her impressions about Somalia and her hopes for the future.

Sabahi: How did you feel when you saw Mogadishu?

Hiba Nura: I cannot describe how I felt because I left Mogadishu when it was still beautiful, and today you can see how it is.

If [progress] had continued in the city, we would have been like Europe. However, God did not ordain that. It was ordained that Mogadishu would be destroyed, but now there are good signs that the city will return to what it used to be.

Sabahi: When you saw some of the venues where you used to perform, like the National Theatre, the Jubba and Uruba hotels, and other places that are now in ruins, how did you feel?

Hiba: I was very emotional when I saw the destruction of all the famous landmarks, yet I found consolation in the many new places that have been built [recently], including high-rise buildings and the roads that are under construction.

The [city] has endured hardship, but I can see past it by looking at the positive ahead.

Sabahi: What are your plans now that you are here?

Hiba: I am planning to write songs for Somalis to inspire them to work towards progress, and I plan to perform for them, God willing.

Sabahi: You have already performed a couple of times since you have been back, but Mogadishu residents are eager to see more. What do you have in store for your fans?

Hiba: I want to do a lot of performances while I am in Mogadishu. There is an upcoming show within a week, as the plan is, I will sing for the Somali public about how to move the country forward.

Sabahi: Are the songs you are performing new or from your old repertoire?

Hiba: I am planning to perform new songs as well as some of the old songs, and some of the singers living in Mogadishu will perform with me at these shows.

Sabahi: Who is helping you organise these events?

Hiba: The Benadir regional administration invited me to Mogadishu and they are helping me with everything I am doing. I am especially thankful to the mayor of Mogadishu who is responsible for my visit.

Sabahi: What role do you think the performing arts can play in Somalia's reconstruction?

Hiba: As it is widely known, performing arts have a broad [reach] and can move people.

The arts can play a decisive role in the development of Somalia at this juncture. If [art is used] every day to tell people about matters related to progress and mass media is used to encourage development, people will become optimistic and carry positive attitudes.

Sabahi: What would you tell Somalis who live abroad and believe it is not safe to come back?

Hiba: I want to tell Somalis wherever they may be that the country is peaceful, and whatever remains [to be done] has to be done together. The country needs to be rebuilt as we have fallen behind 20 years.


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