Renowned Somali singer, composer, poet, and cultural icon Axmed Naaji Sacad Cali Naasir has passed away at the age of 84 in London, leaving behind a legacy that spans over six decades. Naasir, celebrated for his contributions to Somali culture, has left an indelible mark on the country’s music scene, as highlighted by Mohamed Haji Ingiriis in an article for The Conversation Africa.
Born in 1939 in Mogadishu during the era of Italian colonialism, Naasir’s talent for singing flourished during his education in government schools, where he learned Arabic and Italian songs and used his voice to praise the newly-designed Somali flag. He became a member of the Somali Youth League and captivated audiences at their gatherings with his melodious performances.
Naasir’s career took off in 1961 when he became a radio show host, gaining popularity both on the airwaves and on the streets of Mogadishu. He played a crucial role in bridging the cultural divide between northern and southern Somalia, enriching Somali music with his unique style. Despite the changing political landscape following the military coup in 1969, Naasir adapted and continued to thrive during the golden era of the military regime in the early 1970s, earning domestic and international acclaim for his musical prowess. However, as Somalia descended into civil war in the 1980s, Naasir, unwilling to align with any faction, refrained from composing songs during the conflict. He sought refuge in Yemen, where he used his music to advocate for peace and a unified Somalia.
Even in exile, Naasir remained committed to his mission of rebuilding Somalia from the ruins of war. He focused on creating nationalistic and patriotic songs, using his music as a tool for healing and reconciliation. Naasir embarked on world tours, promoting peace and actively contributing to efforts aimed at bringing stability to Somalia.
Throughout his illustrious career, Axmed Naaji Sacad Cali Naasir became an emblematic figure in Somali culture, leaving an enduring legacy as a musician and cultural ambassador. His contributions to Somali music and his tireless efforts for peace will continue to inspire generations to come.