Explorations in History and Society

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

History of Wacdaan and their alliance with the Geledi

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The Wacdaan subclan of Darandole Mudulood have a centuries-old alliance with the Geledi which stands to this day. The history of this subclan and their alliance with the Geledi spans a long time and has withstood the turbulent changes Somalia and Banadir experienced throughout the centuries.

In this article we’ll try to narrate the most important aspects of Wacdaan history and the alliance with the Geledi which was the foundation of the Geledi Sultanate.  

In capter 12 of the book titled: Somali Sultanate, the Geledi City-State over 150 years, the author (Virginia Luling) writes:

The precolonial politics of Somalia, while they were articulated by clan and lineage divisions, also relied on alliances that could cut across the lines of descent. We have seen that Geledi exemplified this principle to a high degree. Their alliance, waransaar (pile of spears), with the Wacdaan carries it even further, and is different from the links within the Geledi community that I have analyzed so far. The Wacdaan regard it not as a client relationship but as an alliance between equal entities, separate and of roughly equivalent size, with each maintaining its own political system but joining in the defense of their common interest. It is notable in that it bridges the divide between the two major branches of the Somali – The Samaale and the Sab, the Maxaa and the Maay speakers. It encapsulates the division between the pastoral-nomadic and the settled agro-pastoral Somali.


On the character of the Wacdaan and their contribution to the succes of the Geledi Sultanate Virginia Lulling writes in chapter 12 of the above mentioned book:

Warriors and Dandies

The league of the Geledi with this vigorous and warlike pastoral clan must have contributed much to their succes in their heyday – indeed in the opinion of the Wacdaan themselves the Geledi would have been helpless without them. They have a strong warrior ethos: their ideal is of the man who is both brave and dandified, dressing in a fine white cloth even if he has to go hungry. Many of the Wacdaan were slow to take up modern schooling, but if the Geledi considered this a sign of backwardness, for some at least of the Wacdaan themselves it showed their independence of spirit. They valued this independence even though i the 1960s it led to their lacking a deputy of their own to send to the National Assembly (their representative came from the Abgaal).


The origins of the Wacdaan are like most subclans of the Darandole Mudulood in Ceeldheer, Mudug region of Somalia. As we have seen in the history of the Darandole conquest of Mogadishu, the Wacdaan played a keyrole and were even blessed by the Darandole Imam for their bravery in the war against the Ajuuraan. After having played a keyrole in the defeat of the Muzzaffar Dynasty in Mogadishu and their Ajuuraan allies in the hinterland the Wacdaan entered into an alliance with the Geledi to defeat the Silcis who were in power of Afgooye region.

Virginia Lulling narrates on the origins of Wacdaan as followes:

History and Migration

According to most accounts the Wacdaan came originally from near Mareeg in Ceel Dheer district in Mudug, where there is a place called Jebed Wacdaan. After long and destructive wars with the Abgaal, the Wacdaan arrived in the Afgooye area, which was then still ruled by the Silcis. The Geledi needed them as allies and – according to the Wacdaan- employed magic, tacdaad, to make them stay. They prepared a feast for the Wacdaan envoys, and meanwhile shoemakers fixed each man a new pair of sandals, with a charm in between the two layets of the sole, which would cause them to come back. The Wacdaan inbsist that they took the lead in the ousting of the Silcis rulers, driving them from the land on the East bank of the river and then taking possesion of it. They maintain that it was only thanks to them that the Gobroon sltans became powerful. (The Geledi however are adamant that it was they who conquered the Silcis, with the Wacdaan either playing a secondary role, or arriving afterwards, and that the Geledi granted the Wacdaan the land.)

In this narration of the migration of Wacdaan Virginia Lulling asserts that the Wacdaan arrived to Afgooye and Banadir as a consequence of wars between them and Abgaal subclans. However, what she means is that the Wacdaan came to Afgooye region from Lafoole and Mogadishu and not from all the way Ceeldheer in Mudug region. As became clear from the history of Mogadishu the Hirab, in which Wacdaan was a subclan of (to be precise subclan of Darandole Mudulood Hiiraab), migrated southwards from Mudug.


“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.

‘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.’


From the above quotation from the book titled:  How a Hawiye tribed lived written by Enrico Cerulli, we can see that the Darandole Mudulood, Wacdaan been a member of the Darandole, came from Mudug region and conquered Mogadishu and its direct environs from the Muzaffar dynasty and the Ajuuraan rulers in the hinterland.

Wacdaan were pushed eventually out of Mogadishu city and pushed towards Lafoole and Afgooye region, which is in line with the wars Virginia Lulling talks about.




page 207 of the same book, Virginia Luling writes:


Written by daud jimale

June 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm

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