(Xinhua) -- By stitching together
yarns of different colors held by up to 12 loops to form fine
linen which can then be used to make different kinds of clothes,
Mohamed Nur is not only earning a living through a centuries-old
technology but is also keeping alive the culture of his people.
For over two decades, Nur, who is in his late 50s, has been
making clothes for both the young and old in Mogadishu.
But things are not as rosy as they were back in the day.
"Imported clothes have swarmed the market in the recent years
and Somalis are embracing them," Nur told Xinhua during a recent
interview in Mogadishu.
He revealed that he had perfected the art of keeping Somalis
adorned in their traditional attire for years but was worried
that the craft might be giving in to modernityís onslaught.
Men, women and childrenís clothes are on display at Nurís
shop, offering customers a wide range of choices despite the
A new trend, which is gradually and steadily picking up in
Mogadishu as Somalis abroad seek to maintain their identity in
foreign lands, indicates his business can still be salvaged.
Many of them now buy the clothes to wear them abroad, keeping
alive Nurís business.
"Somalis who are based in foreign countries are actually the
mainstay of our business," Nur said.
"Many of them are trying to revive the traditions of our
forefathers and like to dress like them," he added.
With a population of about two million, Somalis spread across
the globe and Nurís business seemed to stare at a bright future.
Online shops and design outlets mainly in the UK run by
Somali designers are giving the Somali traditional wear a global
outlook, reinforcing Nurís bid for the promotion of traditional
wear despite the change of times and globalization.
However, there are challenges.
The big ones for Nur is that there are hardly any young
people who are willing to take up the trade.
Stitching yarn in up to 12 loops to make a cloth could prove
a daunting task for todayís young people who can achieve a
similar result with modern technology.
"I learnt this craft from my father and with several years of
practice I am now well versed and can do this with a lot of
confidence," said Nur.
"That was a time of glory when Somalis, both young and old,
were proud to be clad in traditional attire," added the
While people going abroad is a main source of customers for
Nur, there are still many Somalis especially elderly ones whose
loyalty cannot be overturned, despite the dramatic shift from
traditional clothing to imported ones.
"I like the traditional wear because itís durable and more
comfortable," 57-year-old Ismael Ahmed told Xinhua.
"Imported clothes donít last for long," he added.
But Ahmed seems not to find company in his children who find
the clothes old fashioned.
"I try to buy the clothes for my children but they donít like
"They tell me they are not old as me.
"The young generations does not understand the value and
importance of these clothes," said Ahmed.
Nur can still find a few young customers nearby who attach
some significance to his products.
"I like to wear these clothes on Friday but not on a daily
"We need some awareness about the traditional wear among
young people," said Abdullahi Dahir, a 24-year-old university
Nurís business is among the many other enterprises in
Somalia, which survived the civil war of some two decades, and
is a testimony that resilience pays off in the long run.
For that matter, passing the baton to a younger generation
can be the ultimate insurance to Nurís family dream of securing
place for the Somali traditional outfit in the modern era.