Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame
Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame (Hadraawi) is a prominent Somali poet and songwriter, considered by many to be the greatest living Somali poet, having written many notable protest works. Hadraawi was born in Burco, situated in present-day Somaliland. In 1953, at the age of nine, he went to live with an uncle in the Yemeni port city of Aden, where he began attending a local school where he received his nickname, "Hadraawi" (Abu Hadra), a pseudonym by which he is now popularly known. In 1963, he became a primary school teacher.
After Somalia gained its independence, Hadraawi relocated from Aden to Mogadishu and began working for Radio Mogadiscio. In Mogadishu, he both attended and later taught at Lafoole (Afgooye) University. He also worked for the government's Department of Information. Aside from love lyrics, he was a powerful commentator on the political situation and critic of the then military regime in Somalia. In 1973, Hadraawi wrote the poem Siinley and the play Tawaawac ("Lament"), both of which were critical of the military government that was then in power. For this dissent, he was subsequently arrested and imprisoned in Qansax Dheere until April 1978.
Following his release from prison in 1978, Hadraawi became the Director of the Arts Division of the Academy of Science, Arts, and Literature in Somalia and later joined the opposition Somali National Movement based in Ethiopia. He was a very prominent voice in the ensuing years of civil war. Hadraawi relocated to Great Britain in 1991, returning to Somaliland in 1999, this time settling in Hargeisa. The following year, the mayor of Chicago invited him to participate in the latter city's Millennium Festival.
Hadraawi now lives in Burco and will be awarded with a 2012 Prince Claus Award for his contributions to peace through poetry in January 2013.