Honoring the Legacy of Ahmed Naji Sa’ad, Prominent Somali Musician
Wednesday September 6, 2023
The world mourns the loss of Ahmed Naji Sa’ad, a legendary figure in Somalia’s music industry, who passed away in London earlier this week.
A celebrated singer, musician, poet, and composer, Ahmed Naji Sa’ad had dedicated nearly seven decades to his craft, establishing himself as a prominent figure in the global Somali community for his songs promoting peace and patriotism.
Naji fled his homeland in 1991 when the civil war erupted, eventually settling in London as his permanent home. He only returned to Somalia periodically, according to local media reports.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud hailed him as a “prominent Somali musician who commanded great respect among the Somali people.”
“He played a crucial role in the advancement of Somali literature, patriotism, and culture,” stated President Mohamud.
Somalian media outlets reported that Naji passed away in London on Monday after a period of illness.
“The news of Ahmed Naji Sa’ad’s departure deeply saddens me. He was an icon of Somali arts whose brilliance as a composer, singer, musician, and teacher will forever be remembered,” said Somalia’s Information Minister Daud Aweis on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Naji was born in Mogadishu in 1939, and his passion for music emerged during his school years. He embarked on a full-fledged music career in 1954.
Abdullahi Mohamed Abukar, a Somali songwriter who collaborated with Naji, described him as “one of the greatest musicians in Somalia.”
“Despite fleeing the country during the outbreak of the civil war, he never ceased to care for his homeland and its people. While living as a refugee, he composed numerous songs that encouraged peace and unity among Somalis,” Abukar shared with AFP.
“His songs were filled with optimism and prayers for our nation,” Abukar added.
Abdullahi mentioned that Naji joined Radio Mogadishu after Somalia gained independence, eventually rising to become the director of the music department. Local media also reported that he remained a regular presence on the station’s programs.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Ahmed Naji Sa’ad, a beloved artist who made significant contributions to Somalia’s cultural scene,” expressed Catriona Lang, the UN mission chief in Somalia, on X.