Discover Somali

Somali, known as "Af-Soomaali" in Somali, is a Cushitic language from the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken by the Somali people who live in the Horn of Africa.

Main Communities

Mogadishu (Somalia) Jijiga (Ethiopia), Garissa (Kenya),

Common Somali Names:

  • Idil
  • Cawil
  • Ilhan
  • Ladan
  • Hodan
  • Sharmaarke
  • Gargaar

Staple Food

Caano Geel, aka Somali champagne, is the Somali term for camel's milk. It is a popular drink among camel herdsmen in Somalia and provides much needed nutrients in the semi-arid environment where it is hard to grow vegetables. Caano Geel is high in antioxidants, low sugar, and is rich in minerals such as iron, copper, zinc and magnesium, and vitamin C. The milk is very flavorful and is usually consumed fresh or used as a key ingredient in various drinks and meals. Camel milk is traditionally stored in a container called a dhiil.

Culture and Traditions

Garbasaar: These lightweight head coverings are a key part of Somali female fashion. They are typically made out of breathable fabric like cotton or chiffon and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Garbasaars are come in rectangular or square shapes and are fairly large, allowing for better head and neck coverage. They can be worn and styled in different ways depending on how casual or formal an occasion is.

Camels: Somalia has the largest population of Camels (over 7 million) in the world and camels play a significant role in Somali culture. Due to their nomadic lifestyle, Somalis depend on camels for transportation as they travel to seek pasture in the arid regions that they live. Camels are also a significant symbol of wealth in Somali culture.

Notable figures:

Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid (Iman) - model. She has served as a muse for major international designers including Gianni Versace, Thierry Mugler, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Yves Saint Laurent, Iman received a Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 2010.

Ismail Ahmed – Entrepreneur. He founded WorldRemit, a leading global payments company that provides international money transfer and remittance services in more than 130 countries and over 70 currencies.

Mo Farah – Athlete. He is a multiple Olympic gold medalist best known for distance running, particularly in the 5000 meters and 10,000 meters events. Farah also won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2017.