ASC seminar by Yusuf Kajura Serunkuma (Makerere University)
Exploiting the craft and aesthetics of popular culture—music, poetry, paintings, monuments, coffeehouses, fliers, flags, popular narratives, national celebrations, cultural sites, book fairs, everyday practices such as vehicle tinting—through recent ethnography in Hargeisa (March-October, 2015), literary and discourse analysis, this study examined the ways in which Somaliland nationalism is imagined and mobilised after the 1991 civil war. It springs from the understanding that nationalist sentiments are not born, but are mobilised in time and space. Setting out to answer questions relating to history, identity and aspirations of the people of Somaliland in the 1991 nationalist imaginary, this study broadly concludes that Somaliland is constructed and represented mimetically as a foil for Somalia. Specifically, in its secessionist ideations, Somaliland is mobilized as standing for (a) a stricter Islamic public identity, (b) victims of a failed ant-colonial nationalist project, which ended in genocide and human rights abuses, and (c) a ‘progressive’ state; democratic and free, of literatis and open to the outside world, anti-extremism, and stable.