Somali festival celebrates East London and African ties

East London celebrated its ties with Somalia with a week-long festival of Somali arts and culture put on as part of Black History Month in October.

The festival attracted high-profile Somalians including author Cabdalla Mansuur and poet and musician Mahamed Ibrahim Warsame, better known as Hadraawi.

He said: “Through different artistic forms, the Somali Week Festival explores a variety of socio-cultural themes.

“The festival is a platform to exchange ideas and to experience the richness of Somali history and celebrate hopes for the future. The theme for this year’s festival was courage, and the hopes of peace and development that we have for the region.”

The week of events were sponsored by African money transfer company Dahabshiil, which is based in Tower Hamlets.

The borough has one of the largest Somali populations in the country and the week’s events included film screenings and panel discussions at Oxford House in Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green.