The 12 Koofi of Marka

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The 12 Koofi, more commonly known as Reer Marka, are a multiracial confederation of clans based in the southern port town of Marka. Members of this group of clans can also be found all over southern Somalia, especially coastal towns such as: Mogadishu, Barawa, Kismayo, Gendershe, Dhanaane, Jilib, Marka and Jazeera. The word “Koofi” means hat/cap, this was used as a figurative term to describe the main heads or chiefs in Marka, in regards to clans.

Contemporary to the dominating language which is Somali, Reer Marka or the 12 Koofi speak a very unique dialect of the Somali language even though Lamberti labelled this the Asharaf dialect, the locals call it Mahdoonte or Aff May Doonte.

Clan Tree

This group of clans originally was originally made up of 12 clans hence the name 12 Koofi, however over the last century the number of clan groups part of this confederacy has increased due to merchant clans settling in from Baraawa and Mogadishu, also due to some of these Benadiri clans being counted as one . In Pentano, 1910 he mentions the groups who live in Marka as:[2]

  • Gamedle
  • Asharaf ‘Alawi
  • Asharaf Mahdeli
  • Asharaf Bin Hassan
  • Reer Khaatib
  • Haatim
  • Duruqbo
  • Shanshiyo
  • Shukureere
  • Juunji
  • Kafaari
  • Reer Manyo
  • Shiikhaal Jaziira and Gendershe

Patano also went on to mention in Marka there were Bravenese people from various clans living there also. According to Hassan Osman Ahmed’s “La Citta’ di Marka, I Biimaal e il Dominio Sulla Costa Somala” book 12 Koofi are split into 2 groups lixda gibil cad (Somali: 6 lightskin) and lixda gibil madow (Somali: 6 darkskin).[3] These Groups are:

  • Gameedle
  • Duruqbo
  • Shanshiyo
  • Haatim
  • Asharaf (Bin Hassan, Alawi and Mahdali)
  • Shiikhaal (Jaziira and Gendershe)
  • Reer Manyo
  • Shukureere
  • Ahmed Nur
  • Kafaari
  • Juunji
  • Bimal

According to a more recent paper sent to the Federal Government of Somalia the list elders came from 16 different clans[4] and are as follow:

  • Ahmed Nur
  • Asharaf Alawi
  • Reer Manyo
  • Duruqbo
  • Asharaf bin Hassan
  • Shukureere
  • Gameedle
  • Fasahaale (More commonly known as Kafaari)
  • Reer Khadiib
  • Haatim
  • Shanshiyo
  • Garjanti
  • Juunji
  • Shikhaal Jaziira
  • Shikhaal Gendershe
  • Shikhaal Aw Osman

Notable people

  • Shaykh Ali Maye, a revered Sufi saint of the Duruqbo clan, a yearly festival is held for him outside his shrine in Marka and it ends on the 5 of the islamic month of Safar. [5]
  • Maxamed Sheekh Jamaal Cabdulaahi, Mayor of Mogadishu from 1956 to 1960 and the first Somali mayor of the city.
  • Aw Osman Hassan, also known as Aw Usmaan Marki. Synonymous with the Benadiri town of Merca where there’s saying “Merca ‘Aday Mininka Aw Osman”, which translates to as “White Merca House of Aw Osman”.[6] He is venerated in not only Marka but all over Lower Shabelle, there is a mosque named after him[7] in the beginning of the city when coming from the former port where annual ziyaaros happen for Aw Usmaan. It is said that the Shaykh had died in the year 1560.[8]
  • Shaykh Mohamud Hassan, the ancestor of the Reer Ma’ow (Ba Muqtar) clan of the Reer Maanyo confederacy and annual festival is held for him. [9]
  • Shaykh Muqtar
  • Shaykh Mohamed Shaykh Ali Maye, son of the revered Sufi saint Shaykh Ali Maye buried in Boondhere, Mogadishu[10]
  • Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed, current Petroleum minister of the Federal Government of Somalia and former Minister of Commerce and Industry[11]

References

  1. ^ Adam, Anita. Benadiri People of Somalia with Particular Reference to the Reer Hamar of Mogadishu. p. 111.
  2. ^ Pantano, Gherardo. Nel Benadir. La citta di Merca e la regione Bimal. pp. 14–15.
  3. ^ Ahmed, Hassan. La Citta’ di Marka, I Biimaal e il Dominio Sulla Costa Somala. p. 57.
  4. ^ As you can see the current clan elders of the town is made up 16 clans now and not 12 which was the original amount

    The 12 Koofi of Marka

    As you can see the current clan elders of the town is made up 16 clans now and not 12 which was the original amount

  5. ^ Adam, Anita. Benadiri People of Somalia with Particular Reference to the Reer Hamar of Mogadishu. p. 216.
  6. ^ Adam, Anita. Benadiri People of Somalia with Particular Reference to the Reer Hamar of Mogadishu. p. 217.
  7. ^ Haaji Mukhtaar, Mohamed. Historical Dictionary of Somalia. p. 146.
  8. ^ Ahmed, Hassan. La Citta’ di Marka, I Biimaal e il Dominio Sulla Costa Somala. p. 10.
  9. ^ Adam, Anita. Benadiri People of Somalia with Particular Reference to the Reer Hamar of Mogadishu. pp. 159 and 211.
  10. ^ Adam, Anita. Benadiri People of Somalia with Particular Reference to the Reer Hamar of Mogadishu. p. 212.
  11. ^ https://www.newsbreak.com/people/abdirashid-mohamed-ahmed. 
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