Most Somalis perceive the loose long-sleeved traditional tribal Arab gown, the Khamis, as religious dress and sign of pious relevance. The Abaya with burqa veil hijab of various tribal identification is also widely used now throughout Somalia, whereby a woman in the street without it is perceived as blasphemous and risks all kinds of verbal abuses and ostracism in the society. You wouldn’t know whether the woman walking nearby is your mother-in-law, sister or your own daughter.
Men’s attire is split between Western (on the decrease ), Arab tribal Khamis and the traditional Yemeni costume, the Mawis-gown with increasing societal pressure on men to dress up with Khamis, especially during religious holidays and on Fridays.
People seem to be in crisis as to which country and nationality they belong to, whether they are Arabs, Africans or Afghanis.This is the result of thirty years living in statelessness situation. It is no longer the historical Somalia you knew. There is a national crisis of identity. It is the legacy of the Civil War.
It will take a long time and hard work to re-claim our country, and in the process, our national identify too. Let us work on that.
But, don’t get me wrong. I am advocating for neither Western style dress nor an African one. What I am saying is, let us have our own dress, encourage and promote it.