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Exploring and Collecting the History of the Somali clan of Hawiye.

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A concise History of Mogadishu

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Mogadishu is an ancient city that was a central trading centre in the Indian Ocean trade. Its foundation is unclear, but is mostly associated with traders from the Indian Ocean region, like Arabs, Persians etc who settled in the Banadir coast region. The word Banaadir itself comes from the Persian word Bandar which means port, and refers to the port-cities of the Banadir region of Somalia.


Mogadishu was a wealthy city that was a commercial hub in the Indian Ocean trade. The famous Arabian traveller Ibn Battuta visited this city in the 13th century and wrote about it:

We sailed on from there for fifteen nights and came to Maqdashaw, which is a town of enormous size. Its inhabitants are merchants possessed of vast resources; they own large numbers of camels, of which they slaughter hundreds every day [for food], and also have quantities of sheep. In this  place are manufactured the woven fabrics called after  it, which are unequalled and exported from it to Egypt and elsewhere.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>


Mogadishu remained throughout the centuries an important trading centre, but lost its prominent role to other emerging trading centre’s in the Swahili coast. When the Portuguese entered the Indian Ocean trade in the 15th and 16th century, Mogadishu was not as wealthy as in the times of Ibn Battuta, but nonetheless remained an important commercial city. The city was wealthy from the overseas trade it drove based on its complementary relationship with the Ajuraan imamate of the interior<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–>. In the 16th and early 17th century, the city was ruled by the Muzzaffar dynasty which claimed its origin from Yemen, while the interior was ruled by the Ajuraan group. The Ajuraan ruled much of the Somali hinterland and succeeded in establishing their hegemony over the inter- riverine region.


‘Once established in the southern plains, however, the Ajuraan are said to have ruled the country from Qallaafo, on the upper Shabeelle river, to the shores of the Indian Ocean; and from Mareeg on the central Somali coast to the Jubba river in the south. (Cassanelli, pp90)<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3]<!–[endif]–>


The emergence of the Imamate of Yaaquub in Mogadishu is related to the tyrannical rule of the Ajuraan in the interior, and the attraction of the growing Mogadishu wealth as a consequence of its thriving trade controlled by the Muzzaffar dynasty which was allied to the Ajuraan in the interior.

The Yaaquub is a lineage of the Abgal clan who itself is part of the wider Darandoole Mudulood group. The Darandoole Mudulood is a pastoral group that lived in Central Somalia, and throughout the centuries migrated Southwards.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4]<!–[endif]–> As a consequence of this southwards migration, the Darandoole Mudulood encroached slowly but steadily on Mogadishu city and came in conflict with the Muzzaffar dynasty. This dynasty in Mogadishu was itself incapable to withstand this migration and encroachment and opted for negotiation with the Imam of the Darandole.

Cerulli has recorded traditional narrative of how the Darandole conquered Mogadishu against the Muzaffar dynasty:

“In ancient times the Sirasi lived in Mogadiscio. The people called Halawani succeeded the Sirasi. The Mudaffar succeeded the Halawani. The Mudaffar came from the country of Yemen in Arabia. He had guns. He built the palace that is found under the Governor’s house. He was a friend of the Aguran. At that time the Mudaffar governed the coast; and the Aguran ruled in the woodland. The Hirabe were not nearby them; they lived in the northern places. At that time the people of the woodland could not spend the night in the city of Mogadiscio. At sunset a ban was put on the city: ‘Hawiyya, it is growing dark! Hawiyya, it is growing dark!’ Then they went away toward the woodland.


“Later the Mudaffar had an interpreter who was called ‘Ismankäy Haggi ‘Ali. This ‘Ismankäy had the idea of letting the Darandollä enter the city. A message was sent to the imam Mahmud ‘Umar, who lived at Golol. The imam, guiding his Page: 71 warriors, came south and approached Mogadiscio. Then what did ‘Ismankäy do? He spoke with the Mudaffar: ‘By now the Darandollä are near Mogadiscio, let me be accompanied by some soldiers, and I shall go to them.’ ‘How do you want to do it?’ ‘I shall do it this way. I shall come to an agreement with the leaders and make them return to the places in the north.’ ‘So be it!’ said the Mudaffar. Then ‘Ismänkäy took some soldiers with him, but without weapons: ‘Leave your weapons! We go out to conclude an agreement, not really for war.’ They put down the weaons. They went into the woodland. When they had gone into the woodland, the Darandollä came out and took all the soldiers prisoner. Then they continued the raid and entered Mogadiscio. The Mudaffar was caputred and they wanted to kill him. But he, looking at the people who had come close to him, saw among them ‘Ismankäy Haggi Ali. ‘Stop!’ he said then. ‘Before you kill me, I want to speak. O ‘Ismankäy, you are good for nothing, you are capable of nothing, you will not pass seven!’ he said. Thus was 248 ‘Ismankäy cursed. When the Mudaffar was killed, when seven days passed after his death, ‘Ismankäy died too. It happened exactly as he had been cursed.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[5]<!–[endif]–>


The Darandoolle have conquered Mogadishu city and killed the Muzzaffar governor sometime between 1590 and 1625. The approximate dates appear to be corroborated by a Portuguese document dated 1624<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6]<!–[endif]–>.


After the Darandoolle Mudulood took control of the Mogadishu city in 1624, they quarrelled with the Ajuraan on the interior.

‘After entering Muqdisho, the Darandoolle quarrelled with the Ajuraan. They quarrelled over watering rights. The Ajuraan had decreed: ‘At the wells in our territory, the people known as Darandoolle and the other Hiraab cannot water their herds by day, but only at night’’…Then all the Darandoolle gathered in one place. The leaders decided to make war on the Ajuraan. They found the imam of the Ajuraan seated on a rock near a well called Ceel Cawl. They killed him with a sword. As they struck him with the sword, they split his body together with the rock on which he was seated. He died immediately and the Ajuraan migrated out of the country.’<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[7]<!–[endif]–>




The Darandoolle became as such the first group to rebel against the tyranny of Ajuraan in the interior, and ever since this Ajuraan defeat other groups would follow in the rebellion which would eventually bring down Ajuraan rule of the inter-riverine region.

After the defeat of the Ajuraan in the interior the Darandoolle Mudulood established themselves around Mogadishu and Shabelle river valley, in which Wacdaan inhabited the environs of Afgoye and Mogadishu, Hilibi in Lower Shabelle, Moobleen went to the region now known as Middle Shabelle, while the Abgaal established themselves in and around Mogadishu city.


By about 1700 the entire political structure of Mogadishu city was altered with the ascendancy of a new line of Abgaal Yaaquub imams who established themselves in Shangaani quarter (the northern moiety of Mogadishu city). The Yaaquub imam’s powerbase remained among the people of the interior, while members of the Imam’s Yaaquub lineage intermarried with the BaFadel and Abdi Semen, two famed merchants families of Yemeni origins.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[8]<!–[endif]–>


The Yaaquub Imam collected the port tariffs of the city, and emerged as the authority of Mogadishu city, despite its division into two moieties.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[9]<!–[endif]–> The Yaaquub imamate would survive until the closing of the 19th century and was a force to reckon with when Zanzibari influence slowly expanded throughout the Banadir region.





‘ By the early years of the nineteenth century Muqdisho and the two other principal towns of the Benaadir coast, Marka and Baraawe, seem to have settled into a pattern of regular if modest trade with boats plying the maritime routes between India, Arabia, Lamu and Zanzibar. Exports included cattle,slaves, ivory and ambergris.12 From two Soomaali traders from Baraawe whom he encountered at Zanzibar, Commander Thomas Smee learned in 181 I that Muqdisho ‘is not very considerable, may contain I 50 to 200 houses [by this he presumably means stone houses], it has not any river near it, and has but little trade’. He was also informed that it was governed by ‘a Soomaulee Chief named Mahomed Bacahmeen’, probably the reigning Abgaal imam.13 Despite its modest circumstances, Muqdisho was clearly larger than either Marka or Baraawe, the latter consisting of only about Ioo huts (as opposed to houses). By comparison, it is also worth noting that Smee’s informants could tell him that Luuq had some 300 huts.14 This situation probably remained little changed until the following decade, when the fortunes of the Benaadir towns began to intertwine with the ambitious plans of Seyyid Said ibn Sultan for his East African legacy. Muqdisho, in particular, figured in two incidents which clearly established an atmosphere of mutual suspicion with the Omani rulers of Zanzibar. First, it seems, an Omani vessel ran aground north of Muqdisho and its entire crew was sent to that town for sale as slaves, only to be ransomed after a year in captivity by friends in Zanzibar, ‘who sent some stout negroes to replace them’. Then, in i823, the Omani fleet that was sent to subdue Mombasa dropped anchor at Muqdisho and its commander, Abdullah ibn Sulaiyim, kidnapped two community leaders who came on board his ship and imprisoned them at Zanzibar. A ransom of 2,000 Maria Theresa dollars was fixed for their release, though they were eventually freed by the Governor of Zanzibar at the request of the headstrong British naval captain W. F. W. Owen.15 Owen hoped to raise the entire Benaadir on behalf of the British cause in East Africa, as he saw it, and while he appears to have had some success at Baraawe, none was forthcoming from Muqdisho.’


The picture above is the marketplace in Mogadishu in 1882.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>




<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>http://web.archive.org/web/20000914042613/http://www.homestead.com/XAMAR/BATUTA.html

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–> Lee V. Cassanelli, The Shaping of Somali Society: Reconstructing the History of a Pastoral People, 1600-1900, (Philadelphia, 1982), capture 3.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3]<!–[endif]–> Lee V. Cassanelli, The Shaping of Somali Society: Reconstructing the History of a Pastoral People, 1600-1900, (Philadelphia, 1982), capture 3, pp90

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4]<!–[endif]–> Enrico, Cerulli, How a Hawiye tribe used to live capter 4, published in: Somalia, scritti vari editi ed inediti, Vol. 2, edited by Enrico Cerulli, Roma, 1959.


<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6]<!–[endif]–> Lee V. Cassanelli, The Shaping of Somali Society: Reconstructing the History of a Pastoral People, 1600-1900, (Philadelphia, 1982), capture 3.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[7]<!–[endif]–> Lee V. Cassanelli, who quotes from: Enrico, Cerulli, How a Hawiye tribe used to live capter 4, published in: Somalia, scritti vari editi ed inediti, Vol. 2, edited by Enrico Cerulli, Roma, 1959.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[8]<!–[endif]–> Lee V. Cassanelli, Towns and Trading centres in Somalia: A Nomadic perspective, Philadelphia, 1980, pp8-9.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[10]<!–[endif]–> Edward A. Alpers, Muqdisho in the Ninetheenth Century: A Regional Perspective, The Journal of African History, Vol. 24, No. 4 (1983), pp. 441-459, Cambridge University Press.




Written by daud jimale

February 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Ciise Mudulood: Tradition and possible explanation for lack of cohesion and leadership.

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Ma duhr dabadiisa

Ma ceel daboole’ aa

Ma dibi daba go’on baa

Ma talo Daba yar baa

Udeejeenoow tusbax afgiisa la gooyey

Ayaan idin ka dhigay






A long time ago, the elders of Ciise Mudulood had an important shir in the region of Hiiraan-Galgaduud. This shir was about the election of the Ugaas of the clan. It was around the time of duhr, at a place with a well. During the shir there developed an intense discussion between Gacanweyne subclan and Ifya Yusuf subclan of Udeejeen. Faqi Ebaker (Abaker?) who was from Gacanweyne subclan made a claim to the Ugaas title, but he received stiff opposition from the Ifya Yusuf subclan. After intense discussion with no compromise between the main opposing subclans, the issue was put forward to the youngest section of the clan. This was according to the custom of Udeejeen, in which the younger son could make the decision for the clan after heavy disagreement between the elder sons. This youngest son was Dabayar Maxamed Gaab (which eventually grew into Dabayar subsection of Maxamed Gaab subclan). The decision made by Dabayar was that Faqi Ebaker should not become the Ugaas of the clan. As expected, Faqi Ebaker got angry and recited the above mentioned gabay.


In the gabey, Faqi Ebaker first asks about the surrounding of the shir:


Ma duhr dabadiisa? 


Is it the nearing of Duhr, (meaning the time of the shir, which was around the end of Duhr. )


Ma ceel daboole’ aa?


Is it a well  (that can be covered, which is the characteristic of this particular well in this gabay where the shir was held)


Ma dibi daba go’on baa?


Is it a slaughtered ox? (an ox that was slaughtered for the guests of the shir)


Ma talo Dabayar baa?


Is it the decision of Dabayar? (the decision made by the youngest son Dabayar)


Udeejeenoow tusbax afgiisa la gooyey

Ayaan idin ka dhigay


Udejeenoow, I make you like the tusbax which its beginning is cut open.


This curse of Faqi Ebaker basically ment that he cursed Udeejeen to lose their cohesiveness and go different directions like a ‘tusbax’ which is broken and were all the pieces go different directions.


After reciting the gabay, Faqi Ebakar broke his Tusbax with anger, to illustrate the terrible consequences of his curse, and then Macalin Maxumed (the grandfather of Reer Aw Macalin subclan of Udeejeen) stood up and grapped the remaining parts of the tusbax from the hand of Faqi Ebakar and then said: ‘Leave these remaining parts to me’


According to this tradition, Udeejeen had a major shir in which they wanted to elect the traditional leadership of the clan. Since the elders at that shir could not agree who should become the Ugaas, the shir ended in distaster in which Faqi Ebakar (the man who made claim to the title) cursed Udeejeen as a whole and ever since that curse Udejeen has lost cohesion and spread to all directions according to the elders and tradition of the clan. Also, this explains why Udeejeen never had any organized form of traditional leadership to this day.


This oral tradition is most of the time used as explanation for the fact that Udeejeen (Ciise Mudulood) has remained insignificant as a clan, while younger clans like Abgaal, Xawaadle have become significant. The curse itself is brought forward as one of the explanations for the current state of the clan.But if we move beyond that kind of superstition and look at the fact that the clan itself could not agree on an organized traditional leadership in the form of Ugaas, while other Somali clans had this kind of organized traditional leadership, we can conclude that the clan lost its cohesiveness and divided into many sub units which all went their own different directions as a consequence of lack of leadership that could keep the group together and lead the group as a whole. Only a few stayed behind in the original land of the clan, namely Hiiraan-Galgaduud, while most went westwards, well into Somali Galbeed and even ventured into Oromo land. There is another group (the Dabayar group) that went eastwards well into the Banadir and can be found now in Qalimoow around Balcad.

Source: Oral recollections of Mudulood elder.

Written by daud jimale

February 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Hiiraab

The sick Mudulood father and the proposals of Darandole and Ciise Mudulood

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When the ancestral father Mudulood became sick and his two sons Ciise Mudulood and Darandoole Mudulood had to decide what to do with him, they differed in their views.


According to Ciise Mudulood, their father should go with them to wherever they went. They proposed for the father to be put on a camel (rati) and as such his offspring would take care for him while they wandered around as pastoralists.


According to Darandoole Mudulood, their father should get a restplace. They proposed to build for him a nice house so he could spend his last days in one place.


The sick Mudulood father agreed with Darandoole Mudulood and said the following:


To Ciise Mudulood:


‘Rati korkiisa aan idin ku ogahay’   = Upon a male camel is were you will end up


To Darandoole Mudulood:


‘Deegaan  baan idin ku ogahay’     = In a land (living place) is where you will end up



The two statements Mudulood made about his two sons Ciise Mudulood and Darandoole Mudulood were characteristic of their different outlook on life.


Ciise Mudulood was of a more pastoral mind and as such proposed to move their sick father along with them and not settle into one place, while Darandoole Mudulood proposed a much sound argument which was to settle into one place and build a rest house for the sick father.

As such, Darandoole Mudulood today inhabit a large land that stretches from Mudug to L.Shabelle which their offspring have settled throughout the centuries, while Ciise Mudulood have wandered westwards as far as into Oromo land in Abbysinia. Today, there is a remaining part of Ciise Mudulood in Hiiraan and the boundary of Somalia-Ethiopia (Feerfeer borderregion). A very small deegaan compared to their sibling Darandoole Mudulood.

Source: Oral recollections by elder Mudulood men.

Written by daud jimale

February 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Hiiraab


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Written by daud jimale

February 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Hiiraab

Proverbs and Wisdom of the Hawiye

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Silence and speech

“Three are the sicknesses, three the healths, if three are found it is better. The woodland is a sickness, the path is health, if a white way is found it is better. The darkness is a sickness, the lunar light is health, if a bright day is found it is better. Silence is a sickness, talking is health, if what is talked about is obtained it is better”


“Three things are life, and three things are death. If these three things befall you, it is a misfortune. The sperm is life, if sterility befalls you it is a misfortune. Rain is life, if drought befalls you it is a misfortune. The return is life, if ingratitude befalls you it is a misfortune.”

The complaisant girl

Three things are ancestors; three lived with the ancestors; and three satisfy the desires. The camel is ancestor; the livestock with the spotted coat lived with the ancestors; the goat with the speckled coat satisfies the desires.*

*The camel is the traditional livestock, and the possession of bovines is ancient, but the goat, which is slaughtered daily in order to eat the meat, even if scorned because of its little value and because of its ugly coat, is the one that has more practical utility.

The field is ancestor; the boundaries lived with the ancestors; the ear of grain satisfies the desires*

* The field is the origin of the agricultural production, and its boundaries were established by the forefathers, but all that gives utility in the ear of durra from which food is obtained

The girl is ancestor; the unmarried girl lived with the ancestors; the coquette satisfies the desires”*

* More than the virgin, faithful to the rigorous principles of morality, and the unmarried girl, the complaisant girl, with whom one can enjoy oneself without excessive anxiety, is to be esteemed.

Respect toward the elders.

“With three you do not race, with three you do not quarrel. With a war horse, with one who has drunk sheep butter”*

*It is a popular idea that the butter made with sheep milk is particularly nutritious.

“with the wind: one does not race. With the one who fathered you, with one who is greater than you, and with the leaders”*

* gob” among the Hawíyya is both the totality of the leaders of the various peoples of the tribe and the dynasty of the leader of the tribe itself. one does not quarrel.”

Where there is nothing to hope for
“With three things people emigrate, toward three things people emigrate, behind three things people pass. With the small donkeys, with the big camels, with the wooden boats people emigrate. Toward where the rain has made the land fertile, toward where there are many of your people, and toward where there are many girls people emigrate. Behind three things people pass; the nobles,he shy girl, the brave”*

* it is better not to attack from the front: the nobles (from whom the evil eye is feared); the girl who knows how to defend herself; and the pugnacious warrior.

Avarice and generosity.

“Two things are better for you if they are sitting, two are better if they are alive, two are better if they are dead. A milk cow and a man who knows generosity are better for you alive. The nobles and the fire are better sitting”*

* Because just as the fire, lifting its flames, causes damage, so the nobles, intervening in the fights, inevitably: either cause harm directly or end by obtaining money as peacemakers.

Love and gossip.

“Three are the things that remain, three the things that come, three the ones that separate them. The market remains, the caravan comes, the measure and the price separate them. The shore remains, the boat comes, the wind and the season of the southwest separate them. The girl remains, the young man comes, words and gossip separate them.”

The hospitality of the munificent.

“Three things are in your favor, three in your house, three in your ‘muskul’ ( Muskul is a room of the Somali hut reserved for intimate use (baths, ablutions, toilet, etc.). Nice words that are obtained, shameful thing hidden, a good skin on which to sleep: these three things are in your house. ‘I do not have any,’ ‘I do not take any,’ ‘if I have any, I will not give it to you’: these three things are in your ‘muskul.’ Your money that you bestow on me munificently, the ‘no!’ that you do not say to me, the ‘welcome!’ that you add for me: these three things are in your favor.”*

* The proverb means that nice words, a good bed, and discretion in confidences are natural for a guest, whereas avarice and refusals have to be hidden as shameful things, munificence toward the guests is always to be celebrated.

Nobles and commoners.

“Five things have nobles, and they have commoners, and they have pariahs. The camels have nobles and they have commoners and they have pariahs. The sheep have nobles and they have commoners and they have pariahs. The bovines have nobles and they have commoners and they have pariahs. Men have nobles and they have commoners and they have pariahs. Among the camels the nobles are called big-shoulders, the commoners are the camels with a dark coat, the pariahs are those with the neck curved backwards ( The Somalis prefer camels that are light and have powerful shoulders for the load.) Among the sheep the nobles are those without horns, the commoners are those with curved horns, the pariahs are those with straight horns. ( Literally, “horns like the tooth of a comb /Ital. ago crinale/ .”)

Among the bovines the nobles are red, the commoners the speckled ones, the pariahs are the many-colored ones. Among men the nobles are the ones who know what is right, the commoners the ones who ask what is right, the pariahs the ones who stay at home ( That is, the ones who do not participate actively in the life of the tribe, either as governing or as governed. Different from the women, among whom, as the proverb itself says, the ones who remain at home are preferred.)

Among the women the nobles are the ones who remain at home, the commoners the ones who hold out their arms. ( That is, the ones who are not bashful.) the pariahs the short and thickset.”

The dangers of eloquence.

“In three things deceit is never lacking: in the wolf with the tracks of a hyena, in the woman who prays, in the eloquent man. The wolf with the tracks of a hyena comes to you one night: at dawn, when the sun rises, you see its tracks. You say: Last night a hyena came to us. The following night 224 it (the wolf) carries your child away ( The “[unknown]durway,” properly speaking, is the “Lycaon pictus,” while the “wer” is the striped hyena. The former, when hungry, attacks man.) The woman who prays is this way: she prays, fasts. Then you will see her steal a man. The eloquent man is this way: he argues with you, and he knows how to bring forward to you deceptively the question that he has. In these three things deceit is never lacking.”

Brothers and friends.

“Three things are better for you than three things, but it is not said. Your wife is better for you than your mother, but it is not said. Your slave is better for you than your son, but it is not said. Your friend is better for you than your brother, but it is not said.”

A teacher without pupils.

Three things have regret. A teacher who does not leave pupils, an old man without young men ( “His children” is meant.) he sperm wasted in women of others: these three things cause regret.”

Love does not call for discussion by the tribe.

“Three things are united and are put together and are spoken of with qaf’ ( . More than a real proverb, it is a matter of a joke on the alliteration with qaf’.”) The camel with the long neck and its four loads are united and are put together and are spoken of with qâf. The book of the Koran and its 225 binding are united and are together and are spoken of with qâf. If a girl is beautiful and follows your heart, even if she sews skin sacks and sandals ( Occupations that reveal a low-caste origin.) there is no talk of tribe ( There is no discussion of genealogies, as, on the contrary, needs to be done for marriage.) she is seized and it is spoken of with qâf .”

The three crises of life.

“The man, son of nobles, assails you three times. When he is born, he assails you. When he marries, he assails you. When he dies, he assails you” ( The traditional banquets for the birth of a male child and for a marriage, as for funerals, are quite expensive. ).


How a Hawiye tribe used to live By Enrico Cerulli

Written by daud jimale

February 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Abgal Poetry

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The Abgaal are one of the major Hawiye clans and live in the coastal areas from Mogadishu as far as the Mudug. They are perhaps the only Somali clan with its own special poetical genres – the guurow and the shirib – that differ from those of the other Somalis. The language of their poets is often characterised by an admixture of dialectal features. As an example of iyo with long -o, consider the following line from a famous guurow by Cabdulle Geedannaar. It scans properly (the same as a gabay) only if iyo counts as v-, which is also how the poet sings it:

Baasayna haystaan iyo, marasho biid biid ah

And they have money and fashionable dresses

The badar-tumid

In the farming areas of Middle Shabeelle women of the Abgaal and related tribes often pound sorghum and other edible grains to the tune of a special kind of work song, known as a grain-pounding song or badar-tumid. A few examples of its lines are shown in (30).27

Kurta loogu shubaa

(And) it is poured in their dish

Caana geel ku caddaaw

Become white with camel milk!

Maakhiidaa la yiraa

She is said to be a good housewife

Keena-keena rag waaye

Those who always bring things (keena-keene) are the men

Karisooy naag waaye

The one who cooks is the woman

The shirib

This term is used in several areas inhabited by Somalis for different kinds of short songs, often connected with dancing. Typically, however, it refers to a genre of short verse composed by the Abgaal and related tribes in the non- Maay-speaking regions of central Somalia. Shiribs are sung during clan or family meetings as well as other gatherings. Often they are improvised in poetic contests. The best surveys on this genre are Maxamad Cosoble M. (no date) and Caasha (no date).36 The latter gives information also about a number of shirib-related genres such as the tacdaad, the shabshable, the shirib of the Reer Xamar, the gambaraale etc., that will not be taken into account here.

Xuseen (1983: 10), Maxamad Cosoble M. (no date: 10) and Caasha (no date: passim) maintain that shiribs are composed of lines (beyd) of 16 syllables, divided into two similar hemistichs of 8 syllables (lug according to Xuseen 1983: 10). Yet both Xuseen and Caasha write each lug on a different line, so that graphically their shiribs look as if they were made of couplets (beyd) of 8-syllable lines (lug). Consider now the following shirib lugs:37

Tagtaada tuug haddow yaqaan

If a thief knows your wealth

-Afar walxaad o ta’ ku taal

Four things that are in it

Dhiishaase ninba meel dhigtaa

But everybody stores his own milk vessel in its proper place

Dhicis lagama dhur sugoo

One doesn’t expect offspring from a stillbirth


Music and Metre in Somali Poetry
Author(s): Giorgio Banti and Francesco Giannattasio
Source: African Languages and Cultures. Supplement, No. 3, Voice and Power: The Culture of
Language in North-East Africa. Essays in Honour of B. W. Andrzejewski (1996), pp. 83-127
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/586655
Accessed: 05/02/2009 16:05

Written by daud jimale

February 5, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Somalia in the 1980s: Case study of Clan politiics

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The Road to Hell by Michael Maren

Pages 99 and 100

Written by daud jimale

February 2, 2009 at 5:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized