Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame “Hadraawi”, Somalia’s most revered poet and intellectual, passed away today in Hargeisa. He succumbed at the age of 79 to a long illness that had eaten away at him for some years.
Born in Burco in 1943, Mohamed Ibrahim “Hadraawi” moved to Yemen at the age of 10. He studied and spent much of his youth there.
After Somalia gained its independence, he settled in the capital Mogadishu where he taught Somali literature. He later found a job at the Ministry of Information.
Hadraawi was nicknamed “Hadraawi” which means the “Sweet talker” for his mastery of Somali language and poetry. He used his skills to fight for justice and was once incarcerated for his political activism.
After the civil war, Hadraawi left Somalia but eventually returned to settle in Burco, his hometown, which in 1991 became part of breakaway Somaliland.
Although he hailed from northern Somalia, Hadraawi was highly regarded in all parts of the country.
Even if he supported the struggles against the regime of Mohamed Siyad Barre, he never supported the secession of the northern regions because as he said he could not divide his love for the Somali people.
Hadraawi was also a philanthropist and an advocate for the disenfranchised section of the society.
In 1993, he published Hal-Karaan, an anthology of his poems from 1970 to 1990, in Norway. Many of his poems were interpreted by famous Somali singers like Mohamed Saleban Tubeec, Hassan Adan Samatar or Halimo Khalif “Magool”.
The news of his passing was received with great sadness by the Somali nation. Somali political leaders, the public as well as foreign dignitaries reacted and shared their condolences.
Here are some of the reactions shared online.