Breaking Down Stereotypes: Somali Women Always Agents of History

A statue honouring Hawa Taako. [Source].

Recently, the Huffington Post re-published an Associated Press article on Sufi resurgence in Somalia. Following the withdrawal of the armed militant group Al-Shabab from the country’s capital of Mogadishu, Somalis are once again allowed to engage in Sufi practices without fear of death and violent repression. The article paints a landscape of men and women chanting in divine states of worship. The writer makes mention of women:  “Beyond the circle of worshippers are dozens of women, some of them … [Read more...]

The Women at the Forefront of Somalia’s Future

Somali women at a health clinic.  Via Through the Fire.

For more than 20 years there has been a continuous stream of bad news where Somalia is concerned with images of war, famine and piracy. Now with Al Shabaaab driven out of Mogadishu, and the Somali Transitional Government and African Union in control of the capital, Somalia seems to have joined the Africa Rising tide, and interestingly the image of Somalia's new era of a peaceful future seems to be largely women.Indeed, a dominant narrative in rebuilding Somalia seems to focus on women, … [Read more...]

From Somalia with Love (and Heavy-Handedness)

I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I still love young adult fiction and was intrigued to see what a Muslim take on the genre would read like.From Somalia with Love focuses on 14-year-old Safia who lives with her Mum and two older brothers in the heart of the Somali community in East London. She spends most of her time with her extended family, writing poetry or with her best friend, Hamida. Then her father comes home after 12 years of being missing, presumed dead in … [Read more...]

The Somali Media Women’s Association

According to a recent study carried out by Transparency International, Somalia was deemed to be the most corrupt nation in the world. The economic and political instability of Somalia has made it the site of many human rights violations, particularly against women. Females are underrepresented in the workforce as well as education. In fact, slightly over 1/3 of the students at the primary school level are girls, and very little progress has been made in this regard.I had the images of … [Read more...]

An Interview with Yasmeen Maxamuud

Raaz for MMW: I found Nomad Diaries a wonderful introduction to the lives of Somali women living in the United States.  There were times where I was reminded of my own immigrant grandmother and mother as I read about Nadifo’s life. As I mentioned in my review of Nomad Diaries, I am not familiar with stories that portray an African refugee woman’s journey to the United States presented in literature.  What inspired you to write your novel?Yasmeen Maxamuud: Nomad Diaries came out of my desire to … [Read more...]

Yasmeen Maxamuud’s Nomad Diaries

In Yasmeen Maxamuud’s novel, Nomad Diaries, Maxamuud tells the story of an upper-class Somali woman, Nadifo, who comes to Minneapolis as a refugee in the mid-1990s during a time of civil unrest in Somalia. Maxamuud highlights the challenges Somali women face as they transition to life in America as the story follows Nadifo and her family’s life.Maxamuud tackles a range of complex issues the women of the book face: interpersonal relationships (including polygamy, marital infidelity, abuse, and r … [Read more...]


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