I began to understand my identity from being SOMALILANDER yet it wasn’t the only thing that defines me socially or culturally, I was taught at my very early ages to learn by heart my tribe line and my parent insisted to take this seriously but I didn’t understand how important is this till grown up, In fact I didn’t bother to read the details… It was just names in a sequence way, if I got it right then I’m a good kid if not then I need to do my homework, I remember once an old man came to ask me what is my name and lineage and just because I kept this by heart; I couldn’t fail and it was that moment where I noticed the beauty of the heritage of tribalism.

But what Tribalism we’re talking about? The name or the pronoun? The sane or the insane, surely the origin of this value is not on par with the actual way of thinking that becomes if anything a reality where one considers a center of power, a center of influence and sadly it serves who knows better and who brings if anything normative values to the meaning of tribalism, people use it often but too often out of its context!

In the past it was believed to be a bridge for people to know and live in harmony with other but today that reality is far different and it is used to divide and segregate certain people by tribal allegiance…words failed me!!

Tribalism is pervasive, and it controls a lot of our behavior and as David Roepik –an instructor at Harvard University has called on Huffington Post that Tribalism is making a risky world even more dangerous and uncompromisingly only one continent had suffered the most which is Africa where the ethnic allegiances run deep, in fact from South Africa to Nigeria to the world’s newest nation – South Sudan, tribalism is used to climb the political ladder and to create wealth. For years analysts warned that ancient tribal loyalty is conflicting with the modern national identity

History attest that In early times Africans claimed Afrikaners both by the cradle of humanity and thehome of most ethnic diverse people, among best of these are the ASHANTI of Ghana, EUROPA of Nigeria, SHONA of Zimbabwe and the ZULUS in South Africa whose proud traditions predate the European arrival in the early

15thCentury, in the west they’re often called as Ethnic groups but in Africa they’re referred as TRIBES.

Africans never gave up tribalism in favor of NATION and it’s what weakened them and made them vulnerable to the European intervention and slave trade in the first place but there was another face of Tribalism in Africa, one that is more violent and more ugly only when it was used to divide certain people and rule! A case in point is South Africa were largely the whites used against the blacks during the apartheid similarly the implications of tribalism have been disastrous in Rwanda where 800, 00 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 1994.

Unlike other Africans – Somalis remained the only people that were not prone to slave exploitation in fact in the past, the conventional wisdom has been that Somalis population would not face serious inter-communal problems because it has one of the most homogeneous peoples in the world, in general, and in Africa, in particular. This is so, because they belong to the same ethnicity, share the same faith (Islam), speak the same language and share the same culture and history yet this type of way has dominated the majority of people critical thinking and it’s almost that primitive idea which comes when you have friendly chat with someone, or need to attend an occasion or a football match maybe, people today look for anything to start that assumption maybe from your last name or the team you support or the party you campaign for and it’s that moment where you remember why Sir H. B. Kittermaster has posed this question quote “Why do the Somalis occupy today their present position inthe scale of civilization and development? This is a question which perhapsdemands a passing thought. They are undoubtedly still primitive, having reachedonly a system of loose tribal organization in which even the tribal elders andherdsmen exercise but small control.” The truth was proved to be traumatic for Somalis when they couldn’t eradicate tribalism from TRIBE, there was no single progress or improvement in their life socially, economically or politically.

Additionally one thing has been a common denominator for Somalis always and was the shallow measurement to define, shape and limit one’s Idea tendency or belief – in other words suppress certain ethnic identities and tendencies towards tribalism in order to bring a common base for ideas and debate.

Somalis fought this so hard that they diminish somehow the spread of the ideas that Tribalism were carrying and calling for people, many leaders were standing stages and made speeches nothing but on one issue – TRIBALISM or what many have agreed to believe is one of the backbone of the destruction among Somalis development that beyond many efforts it gets bigger and uglier. Imams have addressed it publicly in their religious sermons that Tribalism didn’t bring anything but segregation, discrimination and being that dignity of someone injected on the flour , It’s the tribalism that has been for years something makes Somalis so concerned about where ever they are and it was one aspect that if dealt with wisdom and smart way it could not only save lives but also help grow healthier nation.

The process of persuasion has started and it was from one man who perhaps didn’t understand much of ART and the white center of Rothko paintings in early 1950 – 1960 which was if anything one of the best languages people share among each other butt here is another different language which is has more power and influence namely POEM and it’s what  AbdilahiSuldan Timacade – a young man born in  1920 in the small town of Galooley situated near Gabiley has used all his life persuading his people from the wickedness of Tribalism.Reading his poems will only make you strip away all your prejudice and let it flow like the music!

The message was clear and that was to be less tribal allegiance but more national unity,that Tribalism is beautiful and being proud of your tribal heritage is wonderful. Forcing a western style democracy down the throats of non – westernized people is the problem.

Abdillahi or better known as TIMACADE has wrote many poems to warn Somalis not to have ancient African ethnic groups ideas that weakened them in the first place. He mentioned Tribalism on one of his poems as tuberculosis(TB) which shows nothing but the kind message he was trying to convey “Tafiir yarida waxay noogu wacan, taahagaajada’e Tiibbiidu soomaalidaay, maaha tiif cudure – Tallaalkeedu waaceeshaddaan, taabi la’nahaye” . Abdillahi knew that Somalis were getting information through poems and as such, has tried to send this message to them warning that there is no such thing that can endanger their life more than TRIBALISM regrettably his message wasn’t well received among society as it was what Somalis have believed to be their magic wand to solve their problems and fix things. Maybe sometimes their mentor to guide their intellectual ideas and thinking. For Somalis; the tribalism was the only thing that can help them use any deductive reasoning (top-down logic) at any aspect of their life ,this means that if something is debated among a group of people firstly academically but is not too long time when that debate turns to be on the tribal grounds! This is scary when people have nothing to contribute except Tribalism but more scary to involve such ideas in a political level and process mainly because when we’re talking about politics in a national level that’s where Tribalism should take back step simply as a community you’re taking a mature step and saying that I vote with my neighbor!

Finally Tribalism has worsened our nation and to make it worse, it even transferred from the politics life into ordinary life like sports where you’re not save if supporting a single team or become a fan supporter to be labeled in supporting the clan not a particular team, it’s getting ugly every day and we need to do something about it. To cure Tribalism is simple and is to find alternative where creating a real allegiance not only to the tribe we’re proud proud of its heritage and identity but more to the national identity and unity but the question is: Are we really yet ready to do something about Tribalism and to get rid out of it for good or we will remain as traditionalists that never try to do differently!!!

Faisel Ahmed


Tribalism in Africa TVDocumentary – Press TV

David Ropeik – Huffingtonpost

Kittermaster, H. B.“British Somaliland.”  African Society Journal.


  1. Where African have tribalism, the West has the worst system called racism. It treat people based on colour of their skin.That is why you see minorities from eastern or other part of Europe when they arrive to north America they think they are superior to other race who happened not to be the so-called white race.
    Somalis and other African people learned this tribe differentiation and other dirty things from their master colonies the Europeans.

    • Gelle

      Your comment about those who treat people by the colour of their is untrue in my opinion. As an English man i have many friends from all races across the globe and welcome those who choose to live in the UK. I understand however that some American people can be very strong minded and patriotic, but also uneducated at the same time to life outside of the U.S. The idea of a " White race" in my opinion was whipped out during the oppressive years of the African people by the great man, Nelson Mandela, may he rest in peace. Education and cultural understanding is a void that must be filled if we are to give our children a safe and protected future. I hope that one day the people of the world will live in peace and that racialism and global terrorism will be a thing of the past! There is a saying – Man will destroy man!

      • Not to mind much; Jesus is coming soon and then sort out the mankind mismanagements
        of justices on the earthly planet of Mother Nature holly powers. All calamites on earth are
        human beings mankind made shared by the Satan Nations of tribes; the Jinnkind beings
        in our mankind world. Just wonder if you know what am talking about? Just hope that the
        smart mankind scientists could exhaust their researches to find more about the Jinnkind beings
        that Satan belongs to, and how these Jinnkind affects the Humankind beings on the earthly

      • Rossco,
        Thank you for your comment. However, when I said racism in the western world, I am speaking of the history of western world who brought poor African from their mother land as a slave and enslaved them for centuries.
        I am also making a point of history of colonial masters especially in Africa who treat its subject based on the color of their skin or hair structures. And what I am trying to bring across is the history of mankind and how abusive it was to some and even to date this kind of racism exist but to extent it was in the past.
        Please, do not be defensive, I am not accusing the whole white race as a racist and I am sure there are a lot Africans who mistreat one tribe over another.

        • Mafresh politics is getting boring!

          Even if the unthinkable was to be realized and a state of Isaaqia is born… Hawd will be part of it without a shadow of a doubt. If colonial borders are going to be changed then Isaaqia will benefit either way.

          We will not be land locked and we will have sufficient access to trade with neighboring states.

          Once you recognize a Clan-State there is no end to war…

          A State that gained it's independence on the 26-Jun-1960 at the end of the British-Protectorate period and was recognized by 35-countries does not need to argue with members of a modern day colony of the poorest African states.

          – We know why Majereertenia aka Puntland cannot ever claim to be independent or declare independence it will set a precedence for ever other clan.
          – We know why Clan-federation of Khaatumo cannot be acknowledged for fear of poisoning the federal system.

          What Somalia-Amisom colony prisoners need to understand is every political strategy they use against Somaliland eventually returns to harm them and only them.

          – Dir-Waqooyi idea back fired.
          – Federalism and proxy-sub-states back fired to only harm Somalia-Amisom.
          – Awdal idea only harmed Muuqdisho integrity when Abrar totally destroyed their corruption.
          – Ali Khalif Galydh founder of Khaatumo declared live on Tv that Hassan Mahamoud is affiliated with Shabab. Khaakhtumo is not even a clan, or sub clan, or sub-sub-sub clan they are a small village with no electricity.
          – Majareertenia aka puntland has cause the most destruction on the TFG and now Hassan Mahamoud.

          May Allah always inflict Somalia-Amisom-colony all ill will they intend on others.

          Amiin dheh

          • What a load of crap how has Puntland caused the most destruction on the TFG?
            It is not our fault your Hawiye cousins are incompetent and prone to violent and destruction.
            By the way the leader of the main opposition to the Xamar government is al shaythan terror led by your fellow isaaq clanman terror chief Ahmed Godane.

          • Also it is Somaliland (isaaq) that will be a precedence over the other clans because your people want to rule over other clans such as the Dhulbahante, Warsangeli, Cisse, and the Gadabursi, where as Majerteen are far less likely to face this problem because our main lands of Bari, Nugal, and Northern Mudug are virtually all MJ. You on the other hand inhabitant a small triangular geographical area surrounded by non isaaq clans you want to rule over so who is precedence to who?

          • @Guhad
            Somaliland's democracy country who ever is elected by the majority rules simple as that. 🙂

  2. Tribalism, religion, and race are the basic factors of discrimination in our world. They have been so for a long time. As far as Somalis are concerned, there was an African tribal lineage of some kind in the past, but present tribal lineage is made by the Arabs for Somalis at the advent of the propagation of Islam to Africa. The Arab proselytisers had the task of changing the African tribal names to Arabic names. Any way, Somali tribal lineage plays an important role in the backwardness of this society and needs to be remedied in some way.

    • How we can abandon tribe? we are made of tribe's but we should used in a good way, to known one another.

  3. I said what I believe about this menace long back. See the link below:

    <a href="http://www.google.so/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CDkQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2 Fwww.somalilandtimes.net%2Fsl%2F2010%2F454%2F41.shtml&ei=fuXrUojfB-qQ4gS3voGICw&usg=AFQjCNGfvHW_iAoXeqM6o8SPZkV2I-k0ew&bvm=bv.60444564,d.bGE” target=”_blank”>http://www.google.so/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&am…” target=”_blank”>Fwww.somalilandtimes.net%2Fsl%2F2010%2F454%2F41.shtml&ei=fuXrUojfB-qQ4gS3voGICw&usg=AFQjCNGfvHW_iAoXeqM6o8SPZkV2I-k0ew&bvm=bv.60444564,d.bGE

  4. Tribalism – a national disease – encircles us today like the coil of the snake from which we cannot get out of it no matter how hard we all try.We are all enchained and enshackled by it !!!

  5. My definition of tribe and clan differs from those terminologies which I always encounter in the literature of Somalis. Somalis are only one TRIBE with CLAN subdivisions unlike Africans where you can find a plethora of tribes with their distinct languages and traditions.
    Clan allegiance in Somalia is taken into new heights by the greedy 'politicians', knowing that they can make the illiterate masses mobilised against other rival clans. But they got more than they expected, that is by engulfing the enthusism of the so called Somali ellites, religious and clan elders. Poverty is a catalyst to this newly discovered magic wand where the needy mass think their son in power could share his power and wealth ( looted from the coffers of the State) with his clan!. To their disappointment, their son never remembers anything about how he/she came to power!. What he hears are voices which assure him that he came to power thanks to his competency and integrity- he becomes oblivious of the fact that he is a thug appointed by an ignorant Oday.
    The masses will be in this vicious circle, expecting their next son will be better than the former ' wax matare'.