I arrived a bit late, after being held in traffic for about half and hour. At 6 Pm I entered the foyer, and someone informed me that the play had already started. I quickly rushed, taking my seat next to Leila and watched as the young Somalis staged a play.
The play starts at the Airport, with a young man, Adam, who had lived in the west from about a decade and now wishing to fly out. On the departure gates, he couldn’t find his passport, and at that precise moment a much younger fellow, Axmad, walks from behind the curtain and exchanges a long glance with Adam. At the very same time, a girl wearing all black exits from behind the curtain holding a placard which says “Ten years earlier”. We are now shown, through Axmad, how Adam first got into the country, standing this time at the entry gates while he was being asked for his passport by the Immigration officers.
The entire play was far too long to be mentioned here but it follows Axmad throughout his ten years stay in the United Kingdom and covers all aspects the youth culture in the west. It covers issues such as drugs, the generation gap and relationship between the young and the elder folks, gang related issues and influence of the bad guys over the newly arrived one, ending up in jail, getting out, education and achievements, etc. and ends at where it started – the airport as Adam is seen holding his luggage as he exits. It was quite a wonderful play.
After a short break, a girl I know of called Leila and a girl acting as Adam’s aunt in the drama, sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. Very beautiful! I was rather amazed by the talent these girls had.
Then there was the Clown Dance performed by some teenagers no more than 16 or 17. They danced, without missing a beat – popping and breaking every inch of their bodies simultaneously and in perfect harmony with the thudding of the rhythmic urban sounds. Very impressive I thought, as they exited the podium waving their green-gloved hands.
After that there was an interval and I decided it was time for me to grab a tender chicken breast from the Chicken shop along the same road. But to my dismay, the gates were locked refusing entry to the herds gathered outside also banning anyone from leaving the hall. This, I thought, was rather unnecessary confinement, but that thought evaporated from my mind soon as I realised the behaviour and tendency of Somalis to sneak in and out while their look-a-like gains entry claiming he just gone out for a minute! The organizers of this even must have thought about all this.
I went back and took my seat, after refreshments, and the show resumed. Now a young guy named Axmad took to the stage and sang a song that shook the crowd – “Guur aan rabaaye, Gaabsi kaama doonee”- A classic Niiko song, but the only thing missing was the dancers, which on inquiry I found out that the organizers had rejected that idea already. After a few more performances from other young singers, a dance competition was staged between two groups of dancers dressed in black. I personally favoured the group that “Leila” was in. Don’t be fooled by this girl – she is multi-talented! I watched as both the teams, spiralled, rotated, twisted and turned with great interest. But that pleasure had ended abruptly as a fight broke out on the upper floor, close to where I was sitting. From that moment, pandemonium reigned in the halls and fists were flying.
Before that exchange blows had started, I, for once admired the stillness and tranquillity of the Somalis attending the show and thought that this would set the standards for Somali parties, concerts, wedding and gathering “IF” it ended without a fight. And that quite seemed so, until the last minute, leaving me to resort to the known fact – We are violent people by nature. It is an inherent thing, violence that is!
Overall, the intention of the event to raise funds was wonderful and well done to the organisers.