K’Naan Returns to Somalia After Two Decades

The Somali-Canadian rapper was greeted enthusiastically by people in his struggling homeland..

By Jorge Rivas Aug 23, 2011

Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist K’naan visited his home country on Sunday after being gone for twenty years.

"I came to Somalia to see the situation here and give any donation I have to the people and anything else available," he told the AP, speaking in Somali. "I will do all I can to help my people in Somalia."

According to local reports, K’naan was mobbed by hundreds of people as he toured Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, where malnourished children are receiving treatment.

"The situation is not good; many people are hospitalized and malnourished. It touched me a lot," K’Naan told Africa News.

Thousands of people have arrived in Mogadishu over the past weeks seeking food, water and medicine assistance. It’s one of five areas hit by the Horn of Africa’s drought declared to be experiencing famine.

The United Nations says more than 3.2 million Somalis need food aid. The U.S. says 29,000 Somali children under age 5 have died.

K’naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu until the Somali Civil War started in 1991.

K’Naan became famous when his hit song "Wavin’ Flag," was used for a Coca-Cola campaign when South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup. Before that he was also was one of the lone voices providing context to Somali Pirate crisis in 2008.