Djibouti National Poet: The Search for the National Poet

Do you know about the Djibouti National Poet? Nestled in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is a small yet culturally rich nation with a vibrant literary heritage. While Djibouti boasts a diverse range of poets and writers, it surprisingly lacks an officially declared “National Poet.” This article delves into the fascinating world of Djiboutian literature, exploring the reasons behind the absence of a designated national poet and shedding light on some noteworthy poets who have contributed significantly to the country’s literary landscape.

Why Doesn’t Djibouti Have a National Poet?

One might wonder why a nation as culturally diverse and historically significant as Djibouti has not yet declared a national poet. The absence of this official designation can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Cultural Diversity: Djibouti is home to various ethnic groups, including the Afar, Somali, Arab, and French communities. Each group has its own distinct literary traditions and poets, making it challenging to select a single national poet that would represent all these diverse voices.
  2. Political and Social Unrest: Djibouti has experienced periods of political instability and conflict throughout its history. These challenges may have hindered the establishment of cultural and literary institutions necessary for recognizing a national poet.
  3. Limited Resources: As a small nation with limited resources, Djibouti may not have invested in the promotion and recognition of its literary talents to the extent that some larger countries have.

Notable Djiboutian Poets

While Djibouti may not have an officially declared national poet, it has produced several remarkable poets whose works have garnered national and international acclaim. Here are some notable poets from Djibouti:

  1. Abdillahi Qarshe: Often considered the father of modern Somali poetry, Abdillahi Qarshe was born in Djibouti in 1924. His poems, which reflect themes of love, patriotism, and the beauty of nature, remain influential in Somali literature.
  2. Chehem Watta Abro: A prominent Afar poet, Chehem Watta Abro has contributed significantly to Afar poetry. His works often explore the Afar people’s history, culture, and their connection to the land.
  3. Aden Robleh Awaleh: A contemporary poet known for his evocative and thought-provoking verses, Aden Robleh Awaleh addresses pressing issues such as social justice, equality, and the environment in his poetry.

Djibouti National Poet: FAQs

  1. Who is considered the national poet of Djibouti? Djibouti does not have an officially declared national poet. The country’s diverse cultural makeup and historical challenges have made it difficult to select a single poet for this honor.
  2. Why is Djibouti known for its poetry? Djibouti’s strong oral tradition and multicultural society have fostered a rich literary heritage. Poetry has long been a means of preserving cultural identity and sharing stories in the nation.
  3. Are there any literary awards in Djibouti? Djibouti has recognized the importance of literature with initiatives like the “Prix littéraire des lycéens de Djibouti,” a literary prize awarded to promote reading and writing among young people.
  4. Can you recommend some books by Djiboutian poets? Certainly! You can explore the works of Abdillahi Qarshe, Chehem Watta Abro, and Aden Robleh Awaleh to dive into the world of Djiboutian poetry. Their poems are often available in Somali, Afar, and French.


Djibouti’s absence of an officially declared national poet should not diminish its rich literary heritage. The nation’s diverse culture and history have given rise to a vibrant tradition of poetry, with talented poets who have made significant contributions to the world of literature. While Djibouti may not have a single poet to bear the title of “National Poet,” its poets continue to enrich the country’s cultural tapestry through their compelling verses and storytelling. As Djibouti continues to evolve, its literary legacy remains a source of pride and inspiration for generations to come.


  1. “Abdillahi Qarshe: The Father of Modern Somali Poetry.” Somali Poetry Archive, University of London.
  2. “Chehem Watta Abro: A prominent Afar poet.”
  3. “Aden Robleh Awaleh: A Modern Djiboutian Poet.” African Poetry Magazine.
  4. “Prix littéraire des lycéens de Djibouti.” Djibouti Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training.

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