HARGEISA, 28 October 2009 (Somalilandpress) – “A soap opera or Musalsal, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on television or radio”. (Wikipedia)

Soap operas or Musalsal’s origin dates back to Britain. “It began on radio and consequently was associated with the BBC. The BBC continues to broadcast the world’s longest-running radio soap, The Archers, on BBC Radio 4, which has been running nationally since 1951”. (Wikipedia)

Musalsal was introduced to Somaliland just only several years later when the Somaliland society slightly recovered from the 1994-5 civil war. Since there was no local TV stations, the haves turned to buy satellite dishes that provided more than 20 foreign Arab channels with the exception of few other English speaking TV channels.

Since its inception, Musalsal brought social and cultural implications. The reason is that the basis of most Musalsal’s storylines is romance, secret relationship, and extramarital affairs, kidnapping, rape, and committing adultery. All are against the religious, cultural, values and norms of this highly conservative society. Characters having affairs, sharing the same bed illegally, strangers meeting, couples falling in love are all the scenes that audiences are hooked to unfold the story’s twists. Crimes such as murder, rape and murderer may go unpunished if the villain is too kept in the ongoing story.

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In detail, if we read between the lines, let’s look at the cultural and religious implications that have arisen as a result of the Musalsal.

Musalsal changed the mindset of how society perceived their norms, religion, culture and ethics. For instance, it normalizes premarital and extramarital relationships. These series show a mother and her daughter trying to seduce the same man. You see a young couples dating and sleeping together and later making love.

What is far worse, some Amarican soap operas like Grey’s Anatomy, season 4, began to include some lesbian characters in their series. The son of one of the five female actresses in Desperate Housewives is gay. The question is: How will the brain map of a youth especially girl turn out when she watches such disgusting programs every single night. Her subconscious mind will probably consume tons of it later causing an adverse effect on her way of thinking and behavior. You hear stories about girls being knocked up by their so called boyfriends. Later going to Addis to undergo Vacuum aspiration, a process consists of removing the fetus or embryo, placenta and membranes by suction using a manual syringe. The outcome: Increasing pre-marital pregnancies and Abortion.

Musalsal also changed the dress code of our young girls. At certain wedding parties or ceremonies, you may see some girls wearing trousers or short skirts while at same time putting on a tight t-shirt loosing upto the cleavage.

Musalsal can also be a leading cause of the increasing trend of social and family problems in Somaliland. There are families who broke up due to the Musalsal. The wife may stay up to watch her daily series which may come to air at 12:00 midnight, making the husband to feel disrespected or useless and Giving Satan the chance to whisper into to the husband’s ears advising him to divorce the wife in the next morning.

A part from Musalsal’s adverse impact on the adults, the young generations are taking the same direction. Nowadays, you can see an immature child who wants to make relationship with another immature child who is writing a romantic message which he/she claims that he/she can’t live without the other. This shows how our country lacks the censorship law that rate movies and TV programs according to their respective age group. A social shift is occurring. Unless something is done as a society, as a government and as religious leaders, the situation will be worse!

Written by Adnan A. Hassan
Hargeisa, Somaliland


  1. Good Job Adnan ,, Yes those series are part of our society problems and needs to be addressed.

    You forgot to suggest solutions to the problems you raised in the article.

  2. Brother Adnan,

    Congratulation on receiving your degree of Journalism from the University of Hargeisa. I know that you have the first batch Journalism graduates at the University and we are very proud of you.

    I always enjoy reading articles regarding social issues and Adnan’s one is not exceptional. We see so much of the negative side of Musasalis to our young ladies in Hargeisa. I think the article was a great indicator for many young boys and girls who spent their valuable time in watching Musasalis.

    Thank you for an enlightening this social problem.

    Your future looks bright,
    Farhan (0DAY)
    Hargeisa, Somaliland

  3. Great article, and I go along with you that MUSALSAL is unwelcoming guest to our houses.
    Waiting more from you.

  4. Thank you guys. Ahmed, thanks for the feedback but I would love to tell me the correct way to put it. Ali, Yap i left it but the solutions are needles to say. Farhan, Thanks for the compliment sxb. I read your previous article and we will keep raising significant issues in our society. Thanks u are amazing individual.

    Ifrah, Thanks to you too.

    Adnan A. Hassan

  5. Wonderful stuff Mr Adnan, your very young, talented and back in the motherland, I encourage you to continue to write and share the views of the local teens with us. Good job brotherl.

  6. The same poor ol' Somalis. Its the same everywhere from Mogadishu to Bossaso to Hargaisa to Djibouti to the diaspora… This darn thing effects the young generations, specially the girls as long as the boys are sports more than Soap Operas.

    Soap Operas and other 'R' rated midnight movies are the phenomenal rise of a future doom… God Save Us…

  7. This is an enlightenment, awareness, and educational piece of work from Adnan. no doubt, Soap Opera is a distraction for our young people. It is also a pass time and entertainment,but gradually it becomes an addiction and a copy-cat for many people.

    The western culture is morally decayed in comparison to our culture and what is normal in the west is totally unacceptable in the Islamic culture. Such as permissive sex, fashion such as revealing, hugging or tight clothes, and the individual freedom. Kids can do whatever they want and if you try to discipline them, you are an buser and you can into trouble with the law. Simply, your kids can be taken by the Government.

    I am amazed by this rising talented young Somalilander writers dominating the internet media these days. Congratulations, Adan keep up the good work!

  8. Thanks Yonis for the inspiring comment brother. Mhmet, that is true. It's an epidemic to everywhere somalis live. And we already saw some of the symptoms. This could be moral, value and religious serious killer. We should act against it.

    Gobaad, Walaal Thanks for the sincere encouraging and inspiring comment. Insha Allah, raising the awareness level of our society of the danger of this culture shift could a good step and remedy for this problem.

    Adnan A. Hassan