Colonel Abshir Hashi Ali is the Archive Manager for Radio Mogadishu. Tasked with leading the digitisation of the stations reel to reel archive, the road ahead for Colonel Ali is an impossible one to navigate alone.
With over 35’000 reels that date back over 60 years and the survival of an American bombardment in 1993, there is a strong sense of pride and responsibility attached to the work he is undertaking. Now that the majority of Somalia’s (and much of Africa as a whole) youth are increasingly obsessed with the Americanised pop music being churned out of the continent, it is up to the team at Radio Mogadishu to digitise the station’s archive and ensure the delicate analog recordings can be preserved and cherished for the coming generations and remind them of the country’s musical legacy.
The video below shows the painstaking process involved, one which is made more difficult by the technology available and general working conditions. What will become of the recordings once they are more readily available is as yet not clear, but there can only be admiration for the work being done and anticipation for the results.