The world has become an increasingly interconnected place, and the need to promote understanding among different cultures has never been more critical. Education plays a pivotal role in fostering cultural awareness, leading to the development of global citizens. One such culture that merits attention is the rich and diverse Somali culture. This article aims to provide insights on how educators can incorporate Somali culture into their teaching and offer students a broader and more inclusive perspective.

Understanding Somali Culture

Somalia is a nation situated in the Horn of Africa, known for its unique culture, which takes its roots from an amalgamation of African, Arabian, and Islamic influences. The Somali people take pride in their traditional values, with particular emphasis on their community ties, poetry, music, and nomadic lifestyle. Being able to teach your students about these aspects will equip them with knowledge that goes beyond the clichés often associated with African cultures.

Incorporating Somali History

One way to introduce students to Somali culture is by exploring its history. Somalia has a rich historical tapestry that dates back to ancient times when trading routes connected it with Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and other civilizations. Discussing how these connections have influenced Somali society can help students understand the interwoven nature of history.

Somali Language and Poetry

Language is an essential aspect of every culture. In teaching about Somalia, it’s crucial to touch upon the Somali language – one of the few in Africa written in a phonetic system known as Osmanya script developed in the 20th century. This system allows students to appreciate the linguistic uniqueness of the language.

Somali poetry plays an integral part in its culture; it is used to convey stories, pass down history or values through generations or even solve conflicts between tribes in what is known as ‘poetry duels.’ Introducing students to some beautiful examples of Somali poetry can help them appreciate the lyrical qualities and rich emotion embedded within.

Arts, Music, and Dance

Somali traditional music and dance are invaluable cultural treasures that warrant exploration. Somali musicians use instruments like the oud and drums to create their music’s melodic tunes. Somali dances like niiko or Dhaanto allow people to express themselves through rhythmic movements. Sharing music and dances in the classroom can help students understand elements of their culture.

Food and Cuisine

Sampling traditional foods from a culture is always an enlightening experience, creating a direct connection between people and helping to break barriers. Somali cuisine reflects a fusion of African, Arabian, and Indian influences. Some staple dishes include sambusas, canjeero (similar to pancakes) served with vegetable stews in breakfasts, and malawah for dessert.


Teaching students about Somali culture provides educators with a unique opportunity to expose them to new ideas, foster empathy, appreciation for global diversity, and show them how interconnected our world truly is. Whether delving into the history, language, arts, or cuisine of Somalia, building an understanding of diverse cultures is paramount in raising global citizens ready to face the challenges of an ever-changing world.

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