Again from the Ground Up

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Before the mid-1970’s, Somalia had no written alphabet to speak of. In 1972, the Somali government introduced a standard written alphabet, and literacy rates climbed from a measly 5% to nearly 60%. Unfortunately, as an effect of the civil war, literacy rates dropped below 30% at the turn of the century.

Hargeisa, Somaliland—once known as the “cultural hub” of the Somali Republic—just wrapped up its annual Hargeisa Book Fair: an attempt to bring art and literacy back into the public sphere.


Casey Dayan is a Rumpus intern and musician. He is finishing up his undergraduate studies in literature and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he is working on a memoir and trying to one-up Jeff Buckley. Find his twitter here, @caseydayan. Find his band, “Moo,” here. More from this author →