Oromo Culture

Topics: Oromo people, Ethiopia, Somali people Pages: 5 (1390 words) Published: April 12, 2007
The people group I have chosen is the Oromo People. The Oromo people have occupied north-eastern and eastern Africa for as long as recorded history. It was most probably from there that they dispersed and became differentiated into separate linguistic and cultural groups. They speak Cushitic. These peoples physical and color characteristics vary from Hamitic to Nilotic. The Oromo form a group that spread southwards, east and then west and now occupy a large part of the horn of Africa.

There are several groups of people in East Africa that very closely resemble to Oromo. A group very similar is the Somalis, there culture and appearance are close to that of the Oromo people. In fact the Oromo and Somalis share between 30 to 40 percent of their vocabulary. Other Cushitic-speaking groups that are closely related to the Oromo people are Konso, Afar, Sidama, Kambata, Darassa, Agaw, Saho, Baja.

The Oromo people are said to be of two major groups, gosa and qomoo. In addition they are said to be from two major descents, Borana and Barentu. Borana was senior and Barentu junior. This dictation is quite common in Oromo society and serves some aspects of their political and social life.

The population of this people group makes up over 30 million of the present 55 million totals Ethiopian Empire. The Oromo people can be found in all regions of Ethiopia except Gondar. They can also be found in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Somalia. Out of the 50 nations of Africa only four have a larger population than the Oromia.

The language of the Oromo people is one of the most widely spoken languages from the 1000 different languages in Africa. It is the mother tongue of about 30 million Oromo people living in the Ethiopian Empire and neighboring countries.

The Oromo people have a history of a strong rich heritage. Before colonization they had their own social, political and legal system. Several of their skills flourished such as wood and metal works, weaving, pottery and tannery. Pastoralism and agriculture were well developed.

What I found to be most interesting is a self-sufficient system that the Oromo people use that guides every aspect of their lives. It is the Gadaa system. This system organizes the Oromo people into groups or sets. Each group assumes different responsibilities. The Gadaa system guides the Oromo people's religious, social, political and economic life. As well as their philosophy, art, history, and method of time keeping.

This system guides every aspect of life and serves as a basis for their democratic and egalitarian political system. With the use of the system the power to make laws belongs to the people. The Gadaa system is I believe a well defined but complex system and the following descriptions will hopefully give a basis for how it works.

The Gadaa is broken into two defined male members of society- the hiriyya and the gadaa grade. The following are the gadaa grades:

1.Dabballee (0-8 years of age)
2.Folle or Gamme Titiqaa (8-16 years of age)
3.Qondaaia or Gamme Gurgudaa (1 6-24 years of age)
4.Kuusa (24-32 years of age)
5.Raaba Doorii (32-40 years of age)
6.Gadaa (40-48 years of age)
7.Yuba I (48-56 years of age)
8.Yuba II (56-64 years of age)
9.Yuba III (64-72 years of age)
10.Gadamojjii (72-80 years of age)
11.Jaarsa (80 and above years of age)
Briefly describing the duties of each grade can give you an idea of how the system works. The Dabballee are the sons of the Gadaa class who are in power, the Luba. They are boys up to 8 years of age. This is what they consider the stage of childhood. When they reach their eighth year they enter the Folle grade, which is when they are allowed to go further away from their villages and perform light work.

When they reach the age of 16 they may now go long distances to hunt and perform heavy work. Three years before this stage ends the Gadaa class come together and nominate the...
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