Somalia confirms death of ''local Shakespeare''

APA-Mogadishu (Somalia)

Somalis have expressed dismay over the death of renowned poet Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame Hadraawi acclaimed nationally as Somalia's version of Shakespeare who died in Hargeisa, Somaliland at the age of 79.

Tributes have been pouring in since Hadraawi's death was confirmed on Thursday.

The poet who earned the nickname Hadraawi from his admirers to celebrate his mastery of speech had been taken ill since the beginning of the year over na undisclosed ailment.

 He was born Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame in Togdheer in 1943 and had over 200 acclaimed poems in his name and invented lyrics and local ballads which are still popular in Somalia.

His reputation as a poet transcended his native Somalia, earning him the label Somalia's Shakespeare.

He was embraced in East Africa as a revolutionary poet who had even targeted politicians for criticism including the late president Siad Barre, which led him being jailed.

He had lived on self-imposed exile in Djibouti, where he maintained his poetic caricature of the Somali government.

In later years, Hadraawi became a champion of peace, leading campaigns to end the country's protracted instability since the fall of Barre's government.


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