18/02/2005: Submitted for publication via web
Yusuf Haji Aden Was a Great Educationist
by SSE Chairman
Yusuf Haji Aden was a great educationist. He was one of the founders and promoters of Somaliland education. He was multi-skilled as a teacher, poet, diplomat and was role model for all Somalilanders who benefited from the education system that he and his colleagues, including Ahmed Mohamed Ali, Yusuf Ismail Samater “Gandi” and Ahmed Shire, poneered in Somaliland with formidable opposition by the their own people – Somalilanders. Through their commitment, tenacity, teamwork, hard work and above all personal sacrifice and honesty Yusuf and his colleagues successfully managed shifting the paradigm and introduced modern education to Somaliland.
Managing change at a society level is not an easy task but Yusuf and his colleagues tacticully and skillfully applied a bottom-up approach by starting schools with their immediate relatives. They did not applied top-down approach but knowing their society and culture they positively utilised the norms and values acceptable within the society in order to achieve their mission which they did at the end. This is a classical example of effective leadership and no doubt Yusuf and his colleagues are great leaders to learn from and inspire to.
Yusuf was a poet and because of his lyrics, stories, and humer he was instrumental in motivating his colleagues and was the ‘glue’ within the group. Through his poems, songs and story telling the group were able to communicate with the masses – speaking the lanugaue their people know without arrogance and elitism.
I had the opportunity to share with Yusuf three wonderful occasions:
First : The day I was enrolled in the elementary school in Somaliland
Second: July 1997 in Tower Hamlets College, London. This occasion was organised by The Somali Oxford House and Anglo Somali Society for an event to thank the pioneers of Somaliland Education. I was invited by Dr Saad Ali Shire and Dr Yusuf Omer to give a lecture on Developing Modern Education for Somaliland. Yusuf Haji Aden and RR Darlinton attended the event and were the guests of honour.
Third: Three years I attended an event organised by Fosia Haji Aden in which she presented the biography of her father. I travelled from Cardiff to London for this important event and I learnt a lot about the life of Yusuf, which he lived to the full.
One of the strategic objectives of Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE) is to collect and record the history of Somaliland. SSE will make sure that Yusuf and other great Somalilanders’ history and achievements to be recorded for the young and posterity Insha Allah.
In the name of SSE Executive and members, I am sending my deepest condolences to his family and relatives and all the people of Somaliland. May Allah bless his soul and give him mercy and peace. Amin.
Eid Alislan Ahmed
Somali Societies in Europe