Today was Eid Al-Adha, the day Muslims around the world honour the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God’s command. It also marked the second day of the week-long Somali Cultural Festival at the Two Rivers Mall. The festival which kicked off yesterday will continue until the 25th of July. Hailed as the first-ever Somali art and cultural fair in Kenya, the event promises not to disappoint.
If you ask me, today started on a bit of an anticlimax. Besides the DJ’s mixes at the podium – the only sign of the festival – little culture and art was going on. I could even swear I had heard a few Tanzanian renditions, but then I seldom swear. I have a craving for camel milk which went missing as soon as COVID arrived. On the other hand, camel meat has long eluded my taste buds. I thought this festival would be where they meet. Nyirnyir would have given me some much-needed bragging rights. I had even nursed the notion of participating in the camel dance!
At least art manifested in the form of intricate henna body expressions. Every corner you turned, henna art followed you. However, I highly suspect the Eid celebrations and not the festival inspired it. As the second day of the Somali Cultural Festival came to a close, the renditions of Somali’s Suldaan Seerar salvaged a dull day. Being non-Somali, I could not understand the words in his songs, but I loved the music and was not alone.
As I write this, I wonder whether my choice of day sabotaged my strategy, combining the festival with Eid and maximising diversity. But, true to plan, Two Rivers was packed – minus Somali culture and art! With five more days to go, maybe, just maybe, there might be light at the end of the tunnel.