Somalia’s governmental radio station Radio Mogadishu will return to broadcast a part of its programming in Italian language. This is the result of a brilliant agreement defined by Amb. Alberto Vecchi, who signed a memorandum with the Minister of Information and Culture of Somalia, Osman Dubbe, aimed at the resumption of broadcasting in Italian language, after more than thirty years of absence from the Somali airwaves.
Radio Mogadishu was founded in 1951 by the Italian initiative, during the fiduciary mandate of AFIS, broadcasting continuously in Italian and Somali languages until the fall of Siad Barre’s regime.
The resumption of Italian programming is at the moment limited to 90 minutes per day, although with the prospect of an increase in the near future if the audience should demonstrate the interest of the population.
The resumption of programming in Italian on Radio Mogadishu is, however, only one piece of a wider range of activities planned by Amb. Vecchi in support of the link between Italy and Somalia and for the diffusion of the Italian language in the country.
With the civil war, and the long years of anarchy that followed, cultural exchanges with Italy, the presence of Italian universities and schools and most bilateral relations ceased, leading to a long hiatus not only in the teaching of the Italian language but also in its common use. In this way, an entire generation of Somalis has lost what was once a widespread familiarity with the Italian language, relegating it to a limited knowledge among the older generations.
In order to stop this long period of interruption of the cultural and linguistic ties between the two countries, Amb. Alberto Vecchi’s initiative was not only limited to the resumption of radio programming in Italian language on Radio Mogadishu, but also the organization of Italian language courses at the Somali National University, thanks to the participation of former professors of the same university and exponents of the diaspora returned to Somalia from Italy.