Somali Proverbs

My people say to leave what is on this side for the flood
And to leave what is on that side for the wind:

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My people are beautiful:
They say if people come together they can mend a crack in the sky.
My people are funny:
They say tea is for men and talk is for women.
My people are naïve:
They say a broken tradition angers God.
My people are nomads:
They say a man prolonging his life sees a camel give birth.
My people are wise:
They say these youth taught their mother to give birth.
My people are lovers:
They say a thousand assignations, one marriage.
My people are honest:
They say there is no life without a women.
My people say to leave what is on this side for the flood
And to leave what is on that side for the wind:
My people have been left in the past.


Nuura Axmed (Artist) posts poetry and personal essays about identity, mental health, and travel at her blog Thoughts of a Big Head. Nuura is also a visual artist who focuses on the attire (hijab) of her subjects, and the overall mood of the piece, in lieu of emphasizing facial features. She enjoys taking photographs of her grandmother, and making digital edits on her phone. She resides in London.

The above artwork is titled: Macooyo and the First Granddaughter

Instagram: @wordsbynourz

Ali Hagi (Author) is a Somali male living in San Diego, California. He is 28 years of age and was born in Qooryooley, Somalia during the civil war. His family fled and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya until they were granted entrance to the US as refugees in 1993. Ali took some time off from school to find his place and figure things out. He is now pursuing a Bachelors degree in English Literature, Insha’Allah. Ali is an avid reader and writer and has been writing poetry from a young age. He takes inspiration from poets he reads as well as the stories and poetry of his grandfather, Muhammad Omar Dage, a renowned poet in his own right. Ali plans to pursue a career in writing and publish a collection of poetry as well as a novel in the near future, Insha’Allah.

Diinkii Dhaanshey

“Diinkii Dhaanshey” (The Turtle Fetched a Pail of Water) is an idiom that hooyo always said to us when we were being lazy.  It’s taken from this story about a tortoise.

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“Diinkii Dhaanshey” (The Turtle Fetched a Pail of Water) is an idiom that hooyo always said to us when we were being lazy.  It’s taken from this story about a tortoise:
During a drought, a tortoise was sent to collect water from a well. He was presumed to have left. The other animals waited and waited until finally one day the tortoise was spotted. The animals cried in relief, “Oh! He’s back!”To which the tortoise replied, “Actually, I’m still on my way.”


Asha Mohamed (Artist) is an illustrator and aspiring writer studying for a Masters degree in Psychology. She curates and co-produces Literary Natives, an organisation dedicated to championing Writers of Colour. Asha resides in London.

Find more of Asha’s work, and purchase prints, at ashaillustrates.com 

Twitter: @baahramewe
Instagram: @baahramewe