The station closed soon after the start of Somalia’s civil war in 1991, and its premises fell into the hands of warring factions. Two years later, the archives sustained some damage during clashes between one of the factions and international peacekeepers deployed in the city at the time.“This is the only archive for this nation after the civil war,” he said. “As time passes, if we do not preserve it, it will only be seen in pictures.”
One down, a couple of hundred thousand to go
The fragile reel-to-reel tapes made from acetate, polyester or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are at risk of distortion and degradation, according to Daud Aweis, Somalia’s federal Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism.Radio Mogadishu is now broadcasting using digital technology.At stake are the only remaining audio recordings of much of Somalia’s history, with thousands of reels of music, poetry, religious texts, political speeches and drama shows going all the way back to the station’s creation in 1951. Much of it is in a poor state.
The introduction of digital technology has breathed new life into Radio Mogadishu, but its analogue archives have been rapidly deteriorating.
“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in improving the history of my country,” he said, adding that he is conscious of the task’s importance.