The late Ahmed Shiekh Jama, best known as a poet and public intellectual, was regular contributor to HIBF and a special friend of our team. Just two years ago we published his first book as part of our Curisyo (Essays) series. “Cadli doonaha daal Allaa baday”, a novel inspired by works of George Orwell, which is an allegorical reflection and commentary on contemporary Somali political affairs.
His original allegorical Orwellian narration, on which his book is based, is titled as “Shirwaynahii Xayaanka Soomaaliyeed, 1988” (The Great Assembly of Somali Animals, 1988), and is Orwellian like story where Somali nature of politics is narrated through animals.
Ahmed was expected to take the platform of this year’s HIBF, to read selections from his poetry collection and share with festival participants his thoughts and concerns. We all of us miss him very much, may Allah rest his soul in peace.
Ahmed Shiekh Jama (in Somali, Axmed Shiikh Jaamac also known as Axmed Macallin Jaamac), was born in Las Anood District in 1942. He completed a degree in Journalism at the National University in Mogadishu. Ahmed was an Arabic teacher at the Ministry of Education of the former Republic of Somalia. Ahmed was a person who took his role in society seriously.
He participated and helped shape different aspects and critical moments of the Somali society.
In the 1970s, Ahmed was among a group of young sociopolitical activists who dreamed and embraced leftwing ideals and who believed in 1969 coup d’état as genuine revolution that would deliver a true development to Somalia, but were to be disappointed later.
In early 1990s, Ahmed was among the elders and intellectuals from the various clans who assembled in Burao to proclaim the independence of Somaliland from the rest of Somalia.
Lately he moved to Puntland, where he took the portfolios of Minister for Information, Telecommunications, Culture and Heritage in Garowe.
Ahmed was a true art lover, a poet and a thinker, whose profound respect for reading and learning made him an open minded decent human being.
In a farewell note, we have to admit that Ahmed was among our prominent guests in London for Somali Week Festival and in Hargeysa for Hargeysa International Book Fair, but more than any other thing, Ahmed was a good friend of us, whose stories and poetry always amused and inspired us.
Redsea Culture Foundation and Kayd Somali Arts and Culture are deeply grieved and mourn the sudden death of this friend.
We will miss Ahmed, we wish his soul to rest in peace, and we send our sincere condolences to his family and friends in this difficult time.
Hargeysa International Book Fair team, Hargeysa, Somaliland