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Somali Nationalism: Its Origins and Future

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2008

Abdi Sheik-Abdi
Department of African/Afro-American Studies, State University of New York at Albany


The Somalis, who almost exclusively inhabit the Horn of Africa, form one of the most uniformly homogeneous populations of the continent. They speak one language, adhere to a single faith, and share a common cultural heritage which is an integral part of their nomadic way of life. The very name So maal, when spoken in the imperative, means ‘Go and milk a beast for yourself’, welcome words of hospitality in a wandering stranger's ears. The Somali's self-conception is inseparable from his flocks and his historical grazing lands. Yet, the Somalis have watched helplessly for the past generation or two as their pasturelands were dismembered by colonising European powers and neighbouring potentates.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1977

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page 661 note 1 Lewis, loc. cit. p. 149.

page 661 note 2 Ibid. p. 149. Also see Report of the Four-Power Commission (London, 1949), II, pp. 10–11.

page 661 note 3 Lewis, op. cit. pp. 128–30.

page 661 note 4 Ibid. p. 164.

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