African singing and dancing lit up Mill Meadows on Saturday afternoon at the Borama Comes to Henley celebratory event.
The Henley-Borama Friendship Link was established in 1982, when the then Henley Mayor, Dr Noel Snell and Miss Johana Shepherd (now Cary) visited Borama and presented them with a parchment which had disappeared during the civil war (1987 to 1991). Dr Snell and local resident Brigadier Malcolm Page visited Borama in 1992 to re-establish the link and since 2014 there has been an annual Borama Comes to Henley event. Brigadier Malcolm Page served in Borama in 1947 and looked after many who were in the Somaliland Scouts Regiment.
Brigadier Malcolm said, “The civil war and its aftermath displaced many hundreds of Boramans to UK and for the past five years, we have successfully invited them to visit us and to sing and dance. The main groups are in London. Cardiff and the Midlands, so Henley is well places to receive the visitors from all three areas. Thanks are due to Mrs Helen Barnett (our Town Manager) for doing so much to get the event started. It is very gratifying to see this annual event continue. I would like to see more attendance from Henley people and especially from the schools.”
Deputy Mayor, Councillor David Eggleton, greeted and met the visitors on Saturday and said, “Thank you and a big warm welcome to Henley-on-Thames at this beautiful back drop of the river. I have learnt about your Samson’s Relief to raise money for a deaf school and I would like to donate £100 personally. Thank you for sharing your culture and your traditions.”
Mayehane who was originally from Borama and lives in North London said, “It is the second time I’ve been involved in this event. I moved here 7 years ago. It’s about a long relationship between the two towns – Henley and Borama. We like to come here to meet other people from Borama who have now settled here. We want to bring our culture but we also want to learn the culture from Henley. We want to learn something and bring something.”