Sheikha Dada Masiti (1804- circa 1921)

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Dada Masiti
Sheikha Dada Masiti (1804- circa 1921)

Main Field: Poetry, Islamic Scholar,

Dada Masiti was one of the many female scholars and poets that hails from Barawa, she stood out due to her story growing up and poetry that is still recited today.

Her full name, Mana Siti Habib Jamaluddin, popularly known as Dada Masiti. A poet, scholar, and a symbol of an influential woman for many bravenese women around the world. 

Not only is she famous for the eloquence of her poetry, but her life story is what defines her struggle and journey. At the age of 6, she was kidnapped and taken to Zanzibar, where she was married off. It was her cousin Kulatein who found her after 10 years, and returned her back to Barawa. It was her return that sparked her to become immersed in religious studies, she began writing poetry to express her thoughts, life and servitude to God. She mentions few details about her kidnapping and her return to Barawa in some of her poems such as, “Ya Rabbi Ya Muta’Ali”. 

Poetry or better known as Stenzi goes hand in hand with Bravenese culture and tradition, it is used to commemorate and praise distinguished scholars, historical events, and moral wisdom. 

 

For further reading, Mohamed Kassim wrote a thorough thesis on this topic, called ‘Dada Masiti and the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge’

https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=bildhaan

Here is a video of Bravenese reciting poetry commemorating Dada Masiti, in London 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2yR4P_vYZM

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