The Politics of Being Somali in East Africa Blog / Dispatches

Dispatches #4 Arusha – These last few weeks in Arusha have taught me what it means to exist as a body that is read differently from the average Tanzanian. There’s no question that my Blackness gives me a particular kind of African membership, but my body is still viewed peculiarly. My hair produces the greatest confusion. When it is uncovered people ask me if I’m...

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The Ties that Bind, Pt. II Blog

“So if a colored woman is raped and killed, why do the Days rape and kill a white woman? Why worry about the colored woman at all?” Guitar cocked his head and looked sideways at Milkman. His nostrils flared a little. “Because she’s mine.” – Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (p. 223). December 4th, 2014: I had the great pleasure of meeting Nuruddin Farah, an...

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Federalism: By the People or For Them? Blog

For too many Somalis, the federalism project seems to be a foregone conclusion. The Federal Republic of Somalia was proclaimed almost exactly three years ago and we have had transitional federal governments for years before that. So what is federalism? Why is federalism presented as the only option for Somalia? Who chose federalism for us? I’ve been ruminating on these questions for a while and I shall...

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First Footsteps in Europe: Among the British Blog

First Footsteps in Europe is a Somali ethnographic diary in three parts. I. Among the British London “Hiya” I paused for a moment, unable to quite decipher the meaning of this odd sounding term. Was it a hello, or a how are you? Hi…ya? The man’s unchanged expression left me no clues. I took a guess. “Hi, an earl grey tea please.” “Takeawayorsitin?” Take away...

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PODCAST PHOTO Blog / Podcast

In this episode featuring four Somali women, we discuss narratives about Somali womanhood and the Somali woman’s body in Western discourse, Lady Tonge and white feminist fantasies, the upcoming Somali Studies International Association Congress, and more.


Rooting in East African Soil Blog / Dispatches

Dispatches, No. 3 Arusha I have just landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya for a three month extended stay in Arusha, Tanzania. As I walk out the airplane doors I am greeted by the familiarity of dense air mingling with the dust that comes just before the rain. I can’t stop the smile that bursts across my face. As I walk...

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About Maandeeq

Maandeeq (she who “satisfies the mind”) is the name of the female camel that symbolically represented the Somali nation in poetry. It was she who was looted under colonialism, retrieved by her rightful owners at independence in 1960, and mistreated by dictatorship, corruption and war.

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