Mohamed 'Hadrawi'
Mohamed 'Hadrawi'
Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame 'Hadrawi' is a prominent Somali poet and songwriter. Hadraawi is considered by many to be the greatest living Somali poet. Born in northern Somalia in 1943. Some have compared Hadraawi to Shakespeare and his works have been translated internationally. During the years of General Mohamed Siyad Barre's dictatorship that ended in 1991, he was locked-up in solitary confinement for five years.
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  • 1999
    Age 56
    In 1999, Hadrawi returned once more to his native Somalia, this time settling in Hargeisa.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, the mayor of Chicago invited him to participate in the latter city's Millennium Festival. Hadrawi now lives in Burco, and has reportedly made the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj). Besides volumes of poems and dozens of plays, Hadrawi has participated in numerous collaborations with popular vocal artists. His lyrical corpus includes:
  • 1991
    Age 48
    Hadrawi relocated to Great Britain in 1991.
    More Details Hide Details During this period, he traveled frequently throughout Europe and North America to participate in folklore and poetry festivals.
  • 1978
    Age 35
    Following his release from prison in 1978, Hadrawi became the director of the arts division of the Academy of Science, Arts, and Literature in Somalia. when he joined the opposition Somali National Movement based in Ethiopia.
    More Details Hide Details He was a very powerful voice in the ensuing years of civil war and the repressive military regime, and continues to be a very important poet commenting on the predicament the Somalis face.
    For this dissent, he was subsequently arrested and imprisoned in Qansax Dheere until April 1978.
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  • 1973
    Age 30
    In 1973, Hadrawi wrote the poem Siinley and the play Tawaawac ("Lament"), both of which were critical of the military government that was then in power.
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  • 1963
    Age 20
    In 1963, he became a primary school teacher.
    More Details Hide Details After Somalia gained its independence, Hadrawi relocated from Aden to Mogadishu, the nation's capital, and began working for Radio Mogadiscio. In Mogadishu, he both attended and later taught at Lafoole (Afgooye) University. He also worked for the government's Department of Information. Aside from the love lyrics (one of which is the poem translated here), he was a powerful commentator on the political situation and critic of the then military regime in Somalia. Imprisoned between 1973 and 1978.
  • 1953
    Age 10
    Hadrawi was born in Burco, situated in the former British Somaliland protectorate. His family was poor and consisted of one girl and eight boys. In 1953, at the age of nine, he went to live with an uncle in the Yemeni port city of Aden.
    More Details Hide Details There, Warsame began attending a local school where he received the nickname "Hadrawi" (Abu Hadra), a pseudonym by which he is now popularly known.
  • 1943
    Age 0
    Born in 1943.
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