jump to navigation

Oromo children’s books keep once-banned Ethiopian language alive February 18, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Afaan Oromoo, Afaan Publication.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Odaa Oromooafaan


Oromo children’s books keep once-banned Ethiopian language alive
Melbourne woman Toltu Tufa launches publishing company to print teaching resources for Oromo, a language forbidden under Haile Selassie

, The Guardian, 13 February 2016


Toltu Tufa
Toltu Tufa, right, created posters and worksheets for her father’s students before launching Afaan Publications, the first publishing company to print teaching resources entirely in Oromo. Photograph: Toltu Tufa



Toltu Tufa grew up in Australia, so she couldn’t understand why her father insisted on teaching her Oromo, a macrolanguage spoken in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Egypt.
But what she went on to discover about the language prompted her to launch the first publishing company to print children’s books entirely in Oromo, which she exports from her home in Footscray, 5km west of Melbourne, to schools and families throughout the world.


Tufa’s father is from Ethiopia where Amharic, not Oromo, is the national language. Her mother was born in Turkey but moved to Australia when she was four, and it was here her parents met.
‘Stop the killing!’: farmland development scheme sparks fatal clashes in Ethiopia
Read more
Tufa grew up learning English, Arabic and Turkish but, for reasons Tufa couldn’t fathom at the time, her father also made sure she could speak Oromo, the fourth most spoken language in Africa.

“Dad never spoke about his life back in Ethiopia and yet he insisted on teaching us this language,” Tufa said.

“There were so many resources at my fingertips for the other languages I was learning and so many people that speak them. But when Dad was teaching us Oromo, there were no textbooks or learning materials at all. And that struck me as really strange.”

Her father wouldn’t answer her questions about it either.

“He wouldn’t talk about it and he wouldn’t tell us about his past,” Tufa said. “He would just say, ‘Just learn to speak the language. We are Oromo and this is the language we speak.’ ”

But as Tufa, who is now 30, got older and began doing her own research, she discovered why speaking about Oromo was so painful for her father.

The Oromo are the largest ethnic group of Ethiopia. But since their land was conquered and rolled into the Ethiopian empire in the 1880s, the people have suffered repression and persecution at the hands of numerous African regimes, including mass executions, mutilations and slavery.

Under the dictatorship of Haile Selassie in 1941, the Oromo language was banned, including from political life and schools, and the Amharic language and culture was forced upon the Oromo people. It was a ban that would remain until 1991, when the military Derg regime was overthrown by rebel forces.

During this time the Oromo were jailed, abused and executed. Oromo texts were destroyed. Tufa’s father, an Oromo, fled to Egypt and, in the late 1970s, he was granted asylum in Australia.

By the time the Oromo ban was lifted, Tufa’s father had established a small, private Oromo school in Melbourne to teach the language to the children of asylum seekers who had fled the Horn of Africa. As she helped to teach the students, Tufa realised the teaching resources were woeful.

“Dad imported some Oromo books from Ethiopia after the ban had lifted but they were written in tiny print and had these crude black-and-white drawings,” she said.

“Many of the previous education materials were destroyed during the ban and the republishing of books was all managed by the government, who didn’t consult with Oromo speakers and qualified people to print them, and sometimes the spelling was wrong. There was nothing for children. There wasn’t even a single Oromo alphabet poster in Ethiopia.”
Ethiopia scraps Addis Ababa ‘master plan’ after protests kill 140
Read more
Tufa decided to create posters and worksheets for her father’s students, using her own money to get them printed. One of the first things she produced was a series of alphabet posters.

“The first thing I made that I showed to my dad was a poster I made for the Oromo letter ‘A’,” she said.

“He just cried and cried. He was sobbing. He wasn’t really anticipating me doing this. And he said to me, ‘It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.’”

Three other small Oromo schools that had opened in Victoria by then heard about the materials and all of them wanted copies. Tufa realised that if there was a demand for Oromo child education materials in Australia, there must be other communities around the world where resources were also needed. She booked a plane ticket and travelled to nine different countries to find them.

“I was born and raised in Australia, so I’m very privileged compared to a lot of brown people and I didn’t go through what a lot of Oromo people went through,” Tufa said. “So I thought, rather than trying to claim these Oromo materials as my own, I needed to talk to people and show them my blueprints and get their feedback. I interviewed children, adults and new Oromo migrants in places like Kenya, Norway, Germany and the US, and I videoed a lot of the feedback as well.”

The response was overwhelming, she said. Word of her project spread and, when she returned to Australia, she launched a crowdfunding campaign so she could print Oromo learning materials and send them back to the communities she had visited. By the end of 2014, in just six weeks, she had raised almost $125,000.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Tufa said. “People began writing to me from around the world, these emotional and long letters about how they were punished and jailed for speaking their own language. One man gave me $10,000 from his retirement savings, saying ‘They tried to kill me, but they didn’t. I want to leave something in my legacy for other refugees like me.’”

Last year, Tufa flew to the communities that had supported her projects most to thank them and provide them with children’s books and posters. Even Oromo speakers who had no money helped her, she said, by editing her books and offering feedback.

While her market is all over the world, the largest Oromo community outside Africa is in the US state of Minnesota, she said. Her resources have also found their way to Ethiopia, with people sending copies to family members who still live there. This year, she plans to launch an online store for her publishing company, Afaan Publications.

Demand is also solid in Australia. According to the latest available census data, the top ancestry responses that Ethiopia-born people reported were Ethiopian (5,297 people), followed by Oromo (821 people).

Meanwhile, the troubles for Oromo people in Ethiopia are far from over. The current government has announced an urban planning strategy that aims to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, by occupying surrounding Oromo towns and land in Oromiya, the largest and most populous state in Ethiopia. The move would require closing Oromo schools and occupying homes to make way for infrastructure.

In November, people, predominantly students, from 100 towns of the Oromiya region began protesting the move, with the government reacting by killing, maiming and imprisoning them. A series of violent clashes between protesters and the government left the country reeling.

Last month, after 140 lives were estimated to have been lost in the protests, the Ethiopian government announced it would scrap the land expansion project. But protesters and activists feel it is too little too late and there is continuing unrest.

“I had planned to take my children’s books to Oromiya this year but I just don’t think it’s safe to do so at the moment,” Tufa said. “The Oromo in Ethiopia are still trying to find their way.”

* Tufa’s father, who frequently travels to Ethiopia, could not be named in this story for his own protection.




Children’s books breathe new life into Oromo language

The first publishing company to print children’s books in the Oromo language, which is spoken in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, has been launched.

The Oromo language fell out of favour in Ethiopia under the rule of Haile Selassie, with the Amharic language and culture being favoured.

It is the fourth most widely spoken language of Africa (after Arabic, Hausa, and Swahili).

Toltu Tufa learnt Oromo from her father as she grew up in Australia. She explained to Newsday why it was important to her to create the children’s books.

16 February 2016




Oromians pay tribute to their artist icon and Comedy genius: Hayyuun Sabaa fi Jaallatamaa Kennaa Addaa Kan Qabu Artist Admaasuu Biraanuu Magarsaa (Abbaa Lataa) Boqochuun Ibsame February 18, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Oromo, Oromo film andDrama.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Odaa OromooOromo artist icon and Comedian Biraanuu Admasuu ( Abbaa Lataa)

Oromo artist icon and comedic genius, Admaasuu Biraanuu  Magarsaa (Abbaa Lataa), 1956 – 2016.

Biyyoon Isatti Haa Salphatu.

May His Soul Rest In Peace.



Oduu Gaddaa: Hayyuun Sabaa fi Jaallatamaa Kennaa Addaa Kan Qabu Artist Admaasuu Biraanuu Magarsaa (Abbaa Lataa) Boqochuun himame.

Artistii Beekamaa fi jallatamaa Admaasuu Biraanuu Magarsaa Guraandhala 14 bara 2016 galagala summ’ii diinann du’e reeffii Isaa mana isa keessaa argamuun ibsame. Matii Isaa fi Uummata Oromoo maraaf Hayyuu Dhabneef Waaqayyo Jajjabina Isaa Nuu Haa Kennu.


The Measure of a man: Not – “how did he die” But – “how did he live” Not – “what did he gain” But – “what did he give” These are the units to measure the worth of a man, as a man, Regardless of birth.


Artist Admaasuu Biraanuu Magarsaa: Pioneer and an icon of  Oromo  art, film, comedy and drama has passed away. He had played a leading role in almost all major works of Oromo films and drama and had been entertaining people for many years. Admaasuu was an amazing artist and comedian. His timeless  wonderful works will continue to entertain the generation to come. 

OMN: Oduu Gurraandhala 15,2016





Ni boqatte jedhu
Dhugaadhaa? Abbaa Lataa
Amanuu dadhabee
Lammiin si gaafata!
Diraamaamoo fiilmii
Akkamiin amanna?
Ciistee hafte jedhu
Dhibee si mudate
Mee eenyuun gaafanna!?
Saba si jaallatuuf
Maa Garaa jabaatte?
Halkan dukkanumaan
Kan deemtee fagaatte!
Nama umurii guutuu
Aadaasaaf jiraate
Aartii isaa guddisuuf
Dabarsee of laate
Akka Nama tokkoo
Qixxee namaa duute!
Garaa jabeettittiin
Duuni maal saalfatti
Cimaa akka keetiis
Isa yaraas nyaatti
Si dhukkuba jechuu
Ani homaa hin dhageenye
Niboqatte jennaan
Amanuu hin dandeenye!
Egaa ati hin deebitu
Tarii nutu dhufa
Guca ati qabsiiste
Ifee itti fufa
Dhalachuufiin duuni
Wal qixxee jiraata
Garuu kankee kuni
Garaa nama nyaata!
Atis kunoo egaa
Qixxee namaa ciistee
Diraamaafiin baacoos
Hundumasaa dhiistee !
Lubbuukeef jannata
Maatiif jajjabina
Nuyis sabni keetii
Siin dhabuuf gaddina!

Barreessaan Roobeeraa Hinsarmuu
Yaadannoon Abbaa Lataaf





(Walaloon kun artistii keenya kabajamaa fi jaalatamaa ” Admaasuu Birhaanuu/Abbaa Lataa” yaadannoo haa taatu)

Mana murtii deemee dhaddachatti ba’ee
Afaan oromoo bara yakkamaa ta’e
Yeroo kan ofiin dubbachuun nutti taate qaanii
Bara dhangaa keenya dhoksan cuqqaaluudhaan gaanii

Nuti duruu miti sanyii warra badii
Afaan oromoo qooqa eenyuu gadi?
Aartii keenya kuusuun walitti itichaa
Nu boonsiteetta hayyuu oromtichaa

Diraamaa dheeraa fi baacoo gaggababaa
Safuu oromoo fi duudhaa biyyaaf sabaa
Dhangaa lammii keetiif kaleessa arjoomte
Maqaa dhahuu laata kan sammuun yaadate?

Waaqa uumaa ibsuuf kalaqa kee addaa
Isa kaan gammoojjii warra kaaniin baddaa
Tokko sooromsitee kaan hiyyoomsaa hin turree
Mana sin bulchu abbaa hojiin burree

Nooruu yaa du’a abbaa wal qixxeessaa
Ijoollee koo ka’aa irbaata qopheessaa
Bishaan miilaas fidaa daddafaa ho’isaa
Duti murtee malee hin beeku doorsisa

Kan kee raajuma bar Ayyaantuus fakkaattee
Hucuu jaartii keetii gad baaftee uffattee
Diriirfattee teessee qaama kee hurguftee
Ana Abbaa Dumburree jechuun foffoolatte
Haati manaan kees yoo sana garmalee sodaattee
Iccitii hundumaa fuutee gadi baaftee
Mala kanaan kunoo siifis araaramte

Diraamaa kee hedduu biyyi raajeffate
Handaaqqoo fi sangaa dhaaba horii baaftee
Walitti bitadhaa adda hin baasu jettee
Nus daawwattoota kee kolfaan nu ajjeefte

Mucaa xiqqaa wayiin Luuccee jettee waamte
Obboleettuma kee tiksee seetee dhaante
Hojiin kee hundumtuu bar baraan jirata
Nagaadhaan boqodhu artist abbaa Lataa

Admaasuu Birhaanuu mootii artistootaa
Utubaa aartii qaroo oromootaa
Kan ati facaafte lammiin haamee nyaata
Kan ati hojjateen seenaan si yaadata

Lubbuu itti horte aartii oromootaa
Bakka ati hin jirre qophiitu dhaamota
Uummanni oromoo kanaaf si jaalata
Lubbuudhaan jiraadhu walakkaa jannataa

Uummanni Oromoo lakkoofsaan kitila
Bakka kee kan bu’u boru nuuf biqila

Jan 15/2016
Kaanenus Kaasaa Baayisaa tiin


Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Odaa OromooAmnesty International

Death toll climbs as #OromoProtests still rage in Oromia state ( Ethiopia); schools remain closed. As of 30 january 2016. Fascist Ethiopian regime conducts genocide against Oromo people.


By Amnesty International, 17 February 2016, Index number: AFR 25/3437/2016


The Ethiopian authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained a number of peaceful protesters including journalists and opposition party leaders in recent brutal crackdown on protesters in the Oromia Region. Those detained remain at risk of torture and other illtreatment and should immediately and unconditionally be released.  Bekele Gerba (Deputy Chair, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)), Dejene Tafa (party secretary, OFC), Getachew Shiferaw (Editor-in-Chief of Ethiopian online newspaper Negere), Yonathan Teressa (an online activist), and Fikadu Mirkana (Oromia Radio and TV) are among several Oromo peaceful protesters arrested and detained following the Oromia protests in Ethiopia. The arrests came as a result of a brutal government crackdown on the Oromia protests that started in November 2015 against the government’s master plan to integrate parts of Oromia into the capital Addis Ababa. On 15 December, the Ethiopian government labelled the protesters as “terrorists” and escalated its response to the protests resulting in deaths, injuries, and mass arrests.

Dejene Tafa was arrested on 24 December 2015. On the same day, the police conducted an unlawful search on his house. His wife says that the police, who did not have a warrant, planted an Oromo Liberation Front flag and papers in his house during the search which were then seized from the house. Dejene Tafa is currently being held at the Federal Police Central Investigation Centre (Maekelawi) in Addis Ababa without access to lawyers and restricted family visits. His wife has been allowed three visits since his arrest but only in the presence of police officers. During her last visit on 12 February, Dejene Tafa told her that he had been to the Police Hospital due to pain in his eyes, but police officers present prevented them from discussing the health matter further. His wife has said that he did not suffer from any medical condition before his arrest.

Diribie Erga, age 60, was arrested on 18 December 2015 by a group of plain clothed individuals and officers from the Federal Police for participating in the protests and was released on 10 February. Diribie reports being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment during her detention at Maekelawi detention centre. Amnesty International considers the peaceful protesters arrested to be prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to peaceful assembly. They continue to be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Read more at:-


URGENT ACTION, Detained Oromo Protesters must be released (1)