Somalia : Visualizing the Future with the Hargeisa International Book Fair

© « Hargeisa sunset », by theonlymikey (2011)


Hargeisa International Book Fair was established by Jama Musse Jama in 2008 and organized by Ayan Mahamoud and her team for the next five years.

The fifth edition of the fair who was held from July, 13th to July 18th, 2012 was definitely a success.

According to the organisation committee : « Hargeisa may have no theatre, no permanent library and no cinema, but this literary festival is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon. Literature, poetry, film, music, theatre, are all celebrated here, building on Somaliland’s proud oral tradition; its already inviting very favourable comparisons to the UK’s own Hay Festival ».

The 2012 fair « saw the publication of a new collection of Somali proverbs. Edited by Georgi Kapchits, formerly of Radio Moscow, this new collection, entitled Somalis Do Not Lie in Proverbs, is designed to make sure that the Somali oral tradition is given the recognition it deserves ».

« Visualizing the Future » was the choosen theme of the HIBF 2012 :

« During the last four years, HIBF has, through its emphasis on literature, discussion, and debate, explored a range of themes, including citizenship, censorship, and collective memories. This year we will emphasize the role of literature and a range of other artistic expressions, in the building of sustainable future for Somaliland. HIBF will serve as a platform for civil society to participate in open dialogue and debate the role of science, business, investment, development and tourism in Somaliland. Particular attention will be paid to the current state of the environment and future climate change. Our aim is to unite all sectors of society to create a common vision for the future ».

We also noticed the emphasis on Somaliland’s youth who, in the past « have had limited opportunities to participate in political processes and in particular to have their voices heard on issues pertaining to citizenship and collective responsibilities, and cultural, economic, and social developments. HIBF 2012 provides a platform where individuals of different ages and backgrounds can partake in intellectual debates and come together to actively shape their own futures. HIBF 2012 intends to further expand on its work on citizenship, by bringing together youth from different regions of Somaliland. Focusing on the diversity of educational, social, economic, and cultural experiences of young Somalilanders, the festival seeks to empower young people to articulate their expectations and goals for the future ».

Finaly, « HIBF also serves as a space for key opinion makers to speak about the future of their society. Local writers, poets, scholars, and journalists engages there discussions on different topics. They are joined by internationally distinguished writers, artists and those across the diaspora ».

And we’re now waiting for the 2013 meeting !

[We took up these informations from the HIBF’s official Website]

[Contact the event organizers]

© Hargeisa International Book Fair






[Ce billet est également publié sur le portail de la revue Africultures]


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