October marks the beginning of Black History Month in the UK, so we thought it would be a good idea to showcase a few aspects of Somali history. This post looks at some of the many monuments that exist throughout Somalia that commemorate historical events that have shaped our country.
1. Tomb of the unknown soldier (Daljirka dahsoon) – Location: Mogadishu
Typically, monuments such as this contain the remains of an unidentifiable soldier or soldiers and serves as a reminder of all those who lost their lives to war. Daljirka Dahsoon was erected in memory of the men and women who gave their lives in defence of the Somali Republic. It has since stood to commemorate all who lost their lives for Somalia.
2. Xaawo Taako monument – Location: Mogadishu
The monument was erected in memory of Xaawo Cusmaan Taako, a Somali nationalist whose courage during the 1948 riots branded her a Somali hero. She was a known preacher for the independence of Somalia and fought for the unification of Greater Somalia until her end against the Four Power Commission (made up of the Italians, British, Americans and Soviets). Not much is known about her before she gave her life for her country, however she is a prominent character in Somali history that deserves to be remembered.
Unfortunately, her statue was stolen during the Somali civil war; however, plans are underway to replace it.
3. Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan Statue – Location: Mogadishu (originally, then looted), Jigjiga (recently erected)
Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan is known by many as the ‘Father of the nation’. He is responsible for the establishment of the Dervish state which spent 20 years fighting against the British, Italian and Ethiopian forces as they attempted to colonise and weaken Somalia.
A statue was erected in Mogadishu in his memory after Somali won its independence in 1960. The statue depicts Hassan on his favourite horse, reportedly named Hiin-Faniin. However, following the fall of the central government in 1991 the statue was looted.
In 2013, a new statue was erected in his memory in JigJiga.
4. The MiG statue (Hargeisa war memorial) – Location: Hargeisa
The monument was built in memory of those who lost their lives in the aerial bombing on Hargeisa by Siad Barre in the 1980s. The memorial consists of a Somali Air Force MiG-17 aircraft (similar to that used in the bombings) and also depicts many paintings of hope and outlining the events of that day.
5. Somalia’s equator – Location: near Kismaayo
This monument marks the location of the equator – where the northern and southern hemisphere meet. At this point, a person experiences 0 latitude and would weigh 0.5% less than they would at the poles of the Earth.
6. Ship Statue – Location: Berbera
7. Dhagaxtuur monument – Location: Mogadishu
The monument was erected in memory of those that lost their lives in the October 5th 1949 riots. The riots erupted in response to the Italian demand to run Somalia, as the SYL and British forces continued to fight throughout the country. On this fateful day, the protestors resorted to throwing stones in response to the British forces – resulting in them opening fire on the protesters. 2 people lost their lives that day, and more than 50 were injured.
8. Arba Rucun masjid – Location: Mogadishu
This masjid is said to be the oldest place of worship in Mogadishu believed to be built around the year 661. Due to the time it was built, this masjid would have had worshipers face both Jerusalem and the Kaaba.
9. Masjid al-Qiblayan – Location: Zeila
Masjid Al-Qiblatayn located in Zeila is one of the oldest masjids in East Africa being built in the early 7th century. The Masjid has 2 mihrabs – one facing Jerusalem and the other facing the Kabaa.
10. Laas geel paintings – Hargeisa
The 10 caves located in rural Hargeisa, depict some of the oldest paintings found in East Africa estimated to date between 9,000 and 3,000 BC. The paintings, which feature many different animals and their herders, have been beautifully preserved many centuries.