''Mohamad Ibrahim Warsame ''Hadraawi'' is a true legend, deserving of recognition and celebration of his achievement and lifetime contribution to Somalis: to arts, culture, and literature''. Ibtisam
- The poems of Mahamed Ibrahim Warsame ‘Hadraawi’ was found profound and beautiful by Prince Clause and he is the first Somali poet ever who was nominated and won the Prince Clause Award 2012. He was awarded that prize because of his traditional poetry, building bridges and promoting peace in Somalia and Somaliland. He is internationally seen as a Somali hero and a champion of Somali literature and arts.Hadraawi is a great, humble man with warm personality and shares a lot of characteristics with other great world leaders and activists of our time such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King: unbreakable and incorruptible regardless of challenges and opportunities.
Mahamed Ibrahim Warsame ‘Hadraawi’ is one of the greatest, most cherished and respected Somali poet and philosopher. Born into a nomadic family in Togdheer region of Somaliland in 1943, he went to live with his uncle at an early age and grew up in Aden, Yemen. Hadraawi moved to Mogadishu in late 1960s.
In the 1960’s, most of Hadraawi’s work focused, like others at the time, on the theme of love. In those high days of romance, Hadrawi produced poems like “Todobaadan Midhabley” and songs such as, “Baladweyn”, “Jacayl Dhiig Malagu Qoray?”, “Hooyooy”, “Cajabey, Cajiibey” each poem and song rooted on a particular happening and story in his life. Musical talent and some of the greatest Somali artists at the time sung and further popularised his poems including Magool and Hassan Adan Samatar to name a few.
This decade of Romance in Somali arts ended after Maxamed Siyaad Barre’s regime had been in power for only three years. In the 1970s, Hadraawi’s artistic productions evolved to address more social and political themes. During this time, Hadraawi co-wrote the landmark political play “Aqoon iyo Afgarad”.
All of this and two other plays put Hadraawi at odds with the Barre regime, but he attracted wide support across the Somali Peninsula. Barre became concerned that people from throughout the Somali regions were coming together to oppose him, he put Hadraawi in jail for five years in a remote village where only the guards spoke his language. Barre promised he would release Hadraawi the moment he showed remorse and requested that Hadraawi should write a letter of remorse and ask for amnesty but Hadraawi would not do that.
After his release Hadraawi remained quiet for the next two years after and people began to think that he had become scared and silenced if not corrupted. However, this was a time of serious contemplation for Hadraawi, which gave birth to one of the most significant political chain poems in Somali society, “Daaley” of which he was one of the main drivers. Over 50 artists contributed to this chain poem and it caused significant ideological division amongst Somali poets and thinkers.
In 1982, Hadraawi left Mogadishu to join the opposition group the Somali National Movement that was based in Ethiopia. Among the most known Hadraawi’s political pieces of that period, include “Dalaley”, “Hanbaber”, ”Hargeysi ma Toostay”, “Bulsho”, “Sirta Nolosha” and many others.
It was in 1992 that Hadraawi produced his masterpiece, ‘Gudgude’, in which he explains the society through his eyes, his motivations, aspirations and political ideas for the future. Hadraawi poured all of his energy and ideas into this hundreds of lines of poetry! In 1992, Hadraawi also moved to London, England, for a few years. His experiences in London caused a noticeable shift in Hadraawi’s consciousness and it is in London that we came to know the new Hadraawi – a Hadraawi that is more expressive in his attachments and candid in the significance of his faith and traditional culture.
The new Hadraawi was disillusioned and disappointed in all political ideologies of the world, and is has since being promoting a return to traditional way of life for the Somali society. Hadraawi contribute enormously in the Somali language and literature. He is an illuminating source of guidance for the Somali people and travelling across continents and regions to give lectures and presentations on Somali heritage and the resilience of the human mind.
He has previously received many foreign awards and honorary degrees from many countries including Norway, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, and US (Chicago). However, Hadraawi mostly appreciates the honour his own people have bestowed upon him, with several literature focused initiatives named after him including the Hadraawi Heritage Foundation, The Hadraawi Centre for Arts and Literature, and The Hal Karaan Readers Book Club.
Hadraawi residence is in Somaliland, Burao, with his wife Hodan and teaches at the University of Burao. He remains active in all Somali affairs, with recent poems focusing on the social ills such as discrimination and the hopelessness of Somali men who abuse the use of Qaat as well as the social implications of it. He still strives to take part in events, campaigns to improve Somali literature, arts and Somali culture, with the burden of travelling far and wide to meet and speak with the sporadically spread Somali Diaspora.
The ongoing civil war in Somalia is a great pain for Hadraawi. To show his solidarity with those in need, Hadraawi went on a peace march throughout different cities of Somalia ravaged by the civil war in 2004. What was one-man’s walk became a march of tens of thousands of Somalis who followed Hadraawi from city to city.
To this day, he remains an ideal who carries, sincerely believes and voices the hopes and dreams of so many, and an inspiration to Somalis and none Somalis who have been privileged enough to access his works. A true legend, deserving of recognition and celebration of his achievement and lifetime contribution to Somalis: to arts, culture, and literature.
We look forward to celebrating with him in January 2013, here in his home country with his new award and celebrate his great work.