Professor Omar Abdulkadir Eno was a man on a mission. As an outspoken Somali activist and academic, he dedicated and devoted his whole entire life to ensure the empowerment of his marginalised Somali Bantu/Jareer community. He was born in an era of late colonial contestation and grew up under a turbulent turmoil packed with post-colonial political parallels, full of social walls and political bans for the Bantu/Jareer community.
For what Somali studies lacked by way of cloudless written scholarly explanation, Professor Eno provided through powerful orality to give a voice for the voiceless. His commitment and determination to improving the socio-economic and political position of the Bantu/Jareer inspired my 2012 book chapter entitled, ‘Redefining Somaliness through the Bantu/Jareer Community: The Absent Somalis in the Somali Socio-Political Landscape in Somalia’.
Professor Eno was an extraordinary intellectual and a prodigious scholar whose work on Somali society challenged dominant ways of seeing the Somali world on a wide range of less discussed issues that included discrimination and the stigma of slavery. He has left us a very vital legacy of intellectual passion analytical rigour, and political prescience that should be heeded, especially now, by emerging young Somali scholars seeking to find sustainable solutions to the current conflagration and conundrum in war-torn Somalia.
Professor Eno will be remembered by all who knew him as a person of extraordinary vitality, who was at once an incredibly gifted speaker at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the University of London, and one of the most highly-regarded Somali scholars of the past three decades.
I join his family and friends in mourning his passing on the evening of 1 December 2020.
May He Rest in Peace, aamiin.