Gubo - Ogaadeen Poetry and the Aftermath of the Dervish Wars

Gubo - Ogaadeen Poetry and the Aftermath of the Dervish Wars

Author: 
Barnes, Cedric
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of African Cultural Studies
Source: 
Journal of African Cultural Studies, Vol. 18, Number 1,jUNE 2006, PP. 105-117
Subject: 
Abstract: 

The paper asks how Somalis perceived their ‘national’ identity in relation to clan-based society in the context of European colonial and Ethiopian imperial domination in the first half of the twentieth century. The paper uses Somali oral poetry as historical source since poetry is widely acknowledged as the most profound expression of cultural and political discourse in (northern) Somali society. This paper argues that one of the most famous and enduring examples of ‘classical’ Somali poetry – a series of linked poems known as Gubo – sheds light on an important but neglected period of Somali history, the aftermath of the Dervish wars. The Gubo poems map the experience of three clans who are situated along the eastern Ethiopian border with the colonial Somali-lands during the period in which the Ethiopian and the colonial administrations (British and Italian) pacified Somali resistance and demarcated the borders between their Somali-inhabited territories (circa 1920–1950). The poems also form a link between the poetic discourse of the Dervish leader, proto-nationalist and famed poet Sayyid Maxamad Cabdille Xasan, and the first modern Somali nationalists. The Gubo poems comment on two issues that continue to preoccupy Somali politics and history today, namely the division of the Somali peoples into different ‘national’ territories, and the primacy of ‘clan’ in Somali political life.

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CITATION: Barnes, Cedric. Gubo - Ogaadeen Poetry and the Aftermath of the Dervish Wars . : Taylor & Francis Group , . Journal of African Cultural Studies, Vol. 18, Number 1,jUNE 2006, PP. 105-117 - Available at: http://library.au.int/gubo-ogaadeen-poetry-and-aftermath-dervish-wars-3