Saciid Saalax Axmed

Poet Saciid Saalax Axmed is well known for his work with film, especially his role in the creation of The Somali Darwish (The Somalia Dervishes) – an epic about the Darwish King Diiriye Guure and the Dervish movement in 1985. The film is able to be heard in multiple languages, including regional dialects. The Dervishes are known for their resistance to British occupation from 1899-1920, and their following of the leaders Salihiyya Sufi (a Somali poet), and military leader Mohammed Abdullah Hassan. The film depicts their struggle against colonial forces and guerilla warfare. The film also stars a descendant of the Darwish King.

Before his work on this epic, Axmed taught biology in Somalia, was a school principal, and was the director of the Extra-Curricular Engagement Department. He emigrated to Minnesota after the beginning of the civil war and continued his education, studying Life Science at St. Thomas University, and Linguistics at Hamline University. He continues to write, most notably the children’s book The Lion’s Share, which was the basis of a play produced at the SteppingStone Theater in St. Paul, MN. Axmed also continues to write poetry, some of which has been translated into english by the Poetry Translation Centre.

Axmed also taught courses at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in the department of African American and African Studies, and now lives in Hargeisa. He describes himself as a “lifelong poet . . . playwright, poet, and filmmaker.” In a recent musical collaboration entitled Ubadkaa Mudnaanta Leh (Children Have Priority), he helped to create a bilingual children’s album by contributing song lyrics.