Somali life in Tower Hamlets celebrated in week-long festival

A WEEK-LONG festival of Somali literature, music and history has been entertaining crowds at Oxford House in Bethnal Green including a fun-day for children on Sunday (October 24).

Families and children from across the borough were entertained by clowns, children’s stories and poetry readings at the Derbyshire Street community centre for Somali Children’s Day.

Teenagers staged their own play about a young couple trying to get married against the wishes of their parents and teacher Zayab Dahir, from west London, read to children from her own language-learning books.

“It was fantastic, we had a full-house,” said festival organiser Ayan Mahamoud.

“It was a great opportunity for young people to get together and for neighbours to intermingle and get to know each other.”

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The Children’s Day is just one part of the fourth annual Somali Week Festival.

Other highlights of the festival, one of the borough’s Black History Month events, include a women’s literature event tonight at which authors Yasmeen Maxamuud, who has written about Somali immigration to the USA in A Nomad’s Diary and Nadifa Mohamed (Black Mamba Boy) will discuss their work.

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On Saturday there is an evening of Somali music including a collaboration between east London’s Grand Union Orchestra and Somali musicians including Abdifataah Yare.

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