The hall was an explosion of colour; yellow, orange, purple, violet, electric blue, red, green. You see, graphic and lines are so last season. Even the drums were a bright shade of red. Maryam Mursal, one of Somalia's most recognisable singers with collaborations with Peter Gabriel is orchestrating spontaneous sing-alongs everywhere you look with her rousing hit, Kufilaw (Take care). The awards, in their fourth year is organised by Haya, a Somalian community organisation out to show the world the new face of Somalia. Not the basket-case, pirate-ridden, war-torn, warlord-led fractitious nation the media is ready to broadcast eternally.
Rashid Jama, one of the brains behind the annual extravaganza brims with excitement as he talks about the awards which has 14 categories. He believes the award winners also become role models for the young ones. "We wanted to correct the negativity and recognise the volunteers and high achievers." He jokes they couldn't get Mo Farah on the bill because "he is now a very busy man". And if betting odds are to be a form guide, then the country famously known as the 'Horn of Africa' might soon be getting its first-ever knighted Somali-Brit by Her Majesty, the Queen. Just like Mo the long-distance runner, the country has come a long way.
A country once regarded as unstable and ungovernable, that even the United Nations had to concede its failure at fostering peace and the rule of law. The first time it had had to withdraw from a country. Then UN secretary-general, Boutros Boutros Ghali, said: "This is a new situation in the UN's history. Until now the UN has not withdrawn from a country without accomplishing its task.
"But without the political will of the protagonists we cannot impose peace. We have tried for three years in Somalia and we have not succeeded."
He reflects on the troubles, "Somalians have always been tough people." He mentions their stoicism in the face of American drones and wants the world to realise they are just as normal as other lands.
Abdi is happy to be British and Somali. He says even though Mo Farah wore British colours at the Olympics, he is still very well regarded in Somalia. "He is a Somalian," he says without hesitation. He regards his own Britishness with pride, "This is where I grew up. I will be the best citizen I can be, pay my taxes and obey the laws." Abdi believes every new wave of immigrant community are frowned upon and it takes time to be accepted. "There is progress," he signs off with a big smile.
Things You Didn't Know About Somali-Brits