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Oromia: Sirna Gadaa: Abbaan Gadaa Booranaa 71essoo ya baallii fuudhe. The Borana Oromo have elected Kura Jarso, 30, as their 71st Abba Gadaa in an elaborate, week long ceremony attended by tens of thousands of people in Badhaasa, Borana, Southern Oromia March 9, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Boran Oromo, Oromia, Oromia News, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromummaa, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Governance System.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist


Kuraa Jaarsoo,abbaan Gadaa Booranaa 71essoo

Kuraa Jaarsoo,abbaan Gadaa Booranaa 71essoo


http://www.voaafaanoromoo.com/a/3749790.html


 

Oromo women attend the inauguration of the 71st Borana Abbaa Gadaa in Badhaasa, southern Oromia.

 

Oromo women attend the inauguration of the 71st Borana Abbaa Gadaa in Badhaasa, southern Oromia

The Borana Oromo have elected Kura Jarso, 30, as their 71st Abba Gadaa in an elaborate, week long ceremony attended by tens of thousands of people in Badhaasa, southern Oromia.

Spectators and invited guests started arriving at Arda Jila Badhaasa (the Badhasa ceremonial place) several days ahead of Jarso’s inaguration. The mood here was euphoric all week long and Badhaasa is packed with people from every corner of Oromia. This is where the Borana Oromo leaders have exchanged power peacefully and in a democratic manner every eight years for more than 560 years. Click here to read more at OPRIDE.

 

 

 

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Oromia: The Oromo Heritages: Gadaa, Siiqqee and Irreecha. #Africa. June 13, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Ateetee, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Boran Oromo, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Irreecha Oromo, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Wisdom, Oromo women, Oromummaa, Sirna Gadaa, The Goddess of Fecundity, Waaqeffanna (Oromo ancient African Faith System).
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Oromo nation and Gadaa system

Oromo nation and Gadaa system

The Borana Calendar REINTERPRETED

by Laurance R. Doyle

Physics and Astronomy Department, University of California, Santa Cruz,at NASA Ames Research Center, Space Sciences Division, M.S. 245-7,
Moffett Field, Calif. 94035, U.S. 20 XII 85

The announcement of a possible first archaeoastronomical site (called Namoratunga II) in sub-Saharan Africa by Lynch and Robbins (1978) and its subsequent reappraisal by Soper (1982) have renewed interest in an East African calendrical system, the Borana calendar, first outlined in detail by Legesse (1973:180-88). I shall here reinterpret the calendar as Legesse describes it in the light of astronomical constraints.
The Borana calendar is a lunar-stellar calendrical system, relying on astronomical observations of the moon in conjunction with seven particular stars (or star groups). At no time (except indirectly by way of lunar phase) does it rely upon solar observations. The Borana year is twelve lunar synodic months (each 29.5 days long), 354 days. While it will not correspond to the seasons, this may not be of primary importance for people this close to the equator. There are twenty-seven day names (no weeks), and since each month is either 29 or 30 days long, the first two (or three) day names are used twice in the same month starts on a new day name. The day names are listed in Table 1, the month names in Table 2.
The first six months can be identified at the beginning of the month with a particular astronomical observation, whereas the last six months can be so identified only around the middle of the month. The first six months begin with the observation of the new-phase moon in conjunction with six positions in the sky marked by seven particular stars or star groups. Thus the phase of the moon is held constant while its position varies. The last six months are identified by a particular-phase moon seen in conjunction with the first star position. Thus, here, the lunar phase changes and the position is held constant. The seven stars or star groups in order are Triangulum (which I take to mean Beta Trianguli), Pleiades, Aldebarran, Belletrix, central Orion (around the sword), Saiph, and Sirius. They are given in Table 2 next to the months they define.
The New Year starts with the observation of the new moon in conjunction with Beta Trianguli. (The term “new moon” here will be taken to be within two days of zero phase, although the Borana allow up to three “leap” days’ leeway, the astronomical observation determining the correct day to start on. This is indicated in the day nomenclature by the assignment of like prefixes to two or three day names before the approximate time an important astronomical observation is to take place.) Since the new moon can be seen only just before sunrise or just after sunset, twilight makes the observation of Beta Trianguli (a third-magnitude star) in conjunction with a new moon impossible with the naked eye.

Assuming that such an observation, however, was possible, would the next new moon be in conjunction with the next star group. Pleiades? (Conjunction here is taken to mean “rising with” or “setting with,” having the same right ascension. Legesse says (p. 182), “Let us assume that a new moon was sighted last night and that is appeared side by side with the star Sirius, which the Borana call Basa.”) Since the sidereal period of the moon is 27.3 days long, it will arrive back at the Triangulum position more than two days before completing its synodic month. At the sidereal rate of 13.2° per day, the moon will be within 3° of Pleiades when it rises in the new phase again. However, by the time of the third month it rises, not with Aldebarran, the next star, but a little past Belletrix, the fourth star, which is supposed to start the fourth month. By the fourth month the new moon is rising past Sirius, the sixth start, and the calendar is clearly not working as described. It should be added that the right-ascension positions of the stars in the area from Beta Trianguli to Sirius change with time, at the rate of roughly 15° every thousand years. However, the stars stay in approximately the same configuration, and arguments based on their present right-ascension relationships will hold over the past several thousand years as well.
What happens if we take the term “conjunction,” or “side by side,” as Legesse has it, to mean not “rising with” but “rising single-file,” that is, at the same horizon position (in other words, having the same declination)? Examining the idea that it is not the proximity of the moon to the star that is important but its horizon rising (or setting) position with respect to that star’s horizon rising (or setting) position, we immediately find that the first necessary observation, the new moon rising at the horizon position of Beta Trianguli, is not currently possible. Beta Trianguli rises (at the equator) about 35° north of the east point (0° declination), while the moon (on the northernmost average) rises at 23.5° north of east, never rising farther north than 28.5° from the East Point. The earth’s rotation axis is known to precess over the centuries, and while this does not change the lunar orbital positions significantly, it does change the apparent position of the stars. We can calculate the positions of the seven Borana stars at a time when Beta Trianguli was well within the moon’s declination limits to see if the calendar would have worked then. In 300 BC, Beta Trianguli was rising at a declination of +23° north of east. The right-ascension positions at the time still do not allow a “rising with” interpretation of the calendrical system. We can begin by defining the start of the Borana year as the new moon rising at the rising position of 300 BC Beta Trianguli. (The date of 300 BC was strongly suggested by the preliminary dating of Namoratunga II, but it was chosen because +23°, Beta Trianguli’s declination at the time, is the northern average of the moon’s monthly motion. I will take the moon’s motion, for the example here, from theNautical Almanacs for 1983 and 1984.) The next new moon rises at 14° north of east, which corresponds precisely to the 300 BC horizon rising position of Pleiades, the next Borana star. The next four new moons (starting the next four Borana months) rise at +9 degrees, +1 degree, –11 degrees, and –17 degrees declination. These positions correspond to the 300 BC horizon rising positions of the Borana stars Aldebarran. Belletrix, central Orion—Saiph (taken together), and Sirius, respectively (Table 3).
The seventh month should be identifiable 14 or 15 days from its automatic start (about 29 days after the start of the sixth month) by a full moon rising at the Beta Trianguli position, and this is indeed the case. Each subsequent moon rises at this horizon position 27.3 days later (sidereal month) in a phase (synodic month) about two days less waxes (since it is on its way to the full phase again) each time. (Legesse has a waning moon, but this must mean waning with respect to each subsequent monthly observation, not with respect to the Phase State for that month.) On the thirteenth or first month, the moon is seen rising in the new phase again (“new” meaning within a couple of days of zero phase), and another year begins. Tracing the moon’s motion as it arrives at these positions in the sky (which are, however, no longer directly marked by the seven stars), we can derive the calendar (see Table 4).
This outline is still general with respect to what is sometimes called the lunar excursion (regression of the line of nodes of the lunar orbit). The three “leap” days the Borana calendar allows for the starting of some of the months just before an important astronomical observation could account for this declination excursion of the moon (± ca. 5° from 23.5° declination on an 18.6-year basis), but this would certainly require confirmation in the field.
The Borana calendrical system as described by Legesse is, therefore, a valid timekeeping system, subject to the astronomical constraints outlined here, and the pillars found in northwestern Kenya by Lynch and Robbins and preliminary dates at 300 BC could, as they suggest, represent a site used to derive that calendar. The calendar does not work in right-ascension sense, but it does work if taken as based on declination. It might have been invented around 300 BC, when the declinations of the seven stars corresponded to lunar motion as the calendar indicates, and the star names would therefore apply to the horizon positions as well. Because the horizon rising positions constitute the important observations (over half of which must be made at twilight), some sort of horizon-marking device would seem to be necessary. Since the calendar is still in use, and the horizon-making pillars can no longer be set up by aligning them with the horizon rising positions of these stars, it would seem that the Borana may be using ancient (or replicas of ancient) horizon markers and this possibility should be investigated. I look forward with great interest to a test of these hypotheses.

Table 1

Borana Day names (Legesse 1973)

Bita Kara Gardaduma
Bita Lama Sonsa
Sorsa Rurruma
Algajima Lumasa
Arb Gidada
Walla Ruda
Basa Dura Areri Dura
Basa Ballo Areri Ballo
Carra Adula Dura
Maganatti Jarra Adula Ballo
Maganatti Britti Garba Dura
Salban Dura Garba Balla
Salban Balla Garda Dullacha
Salban Dullacha

Table 2

Borana Months and Stars/Lunar Phases That Define Them
(Legesse 1973)

Month

Star/Lunar Phase

Bittottessa Triangulum
Camsa Pleiades
Bufa Aldebarran
Wacabajjii Belletrix
Obora Gudda Central Orion-Saiph
Obora Dikka Sirius
Birra full moon
Cikawa gibbous moon
Sadasaa quarter moon
Abrasa large crescent
Ammaji medium crescent
Gurrandala small crescent

Table 3

Declinations (Degrees) of Borana Stars, 300 BC and Present

Star

Declination

300 BC

Present

Beta Trianguli

+23

+35

Pleiades

+14

+23

Aldebarran

+9

+16

Belletrix

+1

+6

Central Orion

–10

–6

Saiph

–13

–10

Sirius

–17

–17

Table 4

Astronomical Borana-Cushitic Calendar (1983-84)

Borana-Cushitic Day/Month

Gregorian Date

Description

Bita Kara/
Bittottessa
August 7, 1983 New moon rises at Triangulum horizon position
Algajima/
Camsa
September 6, 1983 New moon rises at Pleiades horizon position
Walla/
Bufa
October 5, 1983 New moon rises at Aldebarran horizon position
Basa Dura/
Wacabajjii
November 2, 1983 New moon rises at Belletrix horizon position
Maganatti Jarra/
Obora Gudda
December 2, 1983 New moon rises at central Orion-Saiph horizon position
Salban Dura/
Obora Dikka
December 30, 1983 New moon rises at Sirius horizon position
Gardaduma/
Birra
January 29, 1984 Full moon sets at Triangulum on February 15
Rurruma/Cikawa February 28, 1984 Gibbous moon sets at Triangulum on March 14
Gidada/
Sadasaa
March 28, 1984 Quarter moon sets at Triangulum on April 10
Areri Dura/
Abrasa
April 26, 1984 Large crescent sets at Triangulum on May 7
Adula Dura/
Ammaji
May 25, 1984 Medium crescent sets at Triangulum on June 3
Garba Dura/
Gurrandala
June 23, 1984 Small crescent sets at Triangulum on June 30
Bita Kara/
Bittottessa
July 28, 1984 “New” moon rises at Triangulum position again, new year starts

References Cited

Legesse, A. 1973. Gada: Three approaches to the study of African Society. New York: Free Press.

Lynch, B. M., and L. H. Robbins. 1978. Namoratunga: The first archaeoastronomical evidence in sub-Saharan Africa. Science 200:766-68.

Soper, R. 1982. Archaeo-astronomical Cushites: Some comments. Azania 17:145-62

Source:

http://web.archive.org/web/20081029073246/http://www.tusker.com/Archaeo/art.currentanthro.htm

ASTRONOMY IN EAST AFRICA:Borana-Cushitic Calender

ASTRONOMY IN EAST AFRICA
The Borana-Cushitic Calendar and Namoratunga
Laurance Reeve Doyle
Space Sciences Division, N.A.S.A.
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

“While Western thought has always prided itself on scientific objectivity, it has often been found unprepared for such surprises as an intellectually advanced yet seemingly illiterate society. In the face of apparent primitiveness, the possibility of significant intellectual development may not be fully investigated.
This was certainly the case when, in the early 1970’s, Dr. A. Legesse first found that the Borana people of southern Ethiopia were indeed using a sophisticated calendrical system based on the conjunction of seven stars with certain lunar phases. Previous calendrical investigations into the area up to this time had superficially stated that the Borana “attach magical significance to the stars and constellations,” incorrectly concluding that their calendar was based, as ours is, on solar motion.
What Dr. Legesse found was an amazing cyclical calendar similar to those of the Mayans, Chinese, and Hindu, but unique in that it seemed to ignore the sun completely (except indirectly by way of the phases of the moon). The workings were described to him by the Borana ayyantu (timekeepers) as follows.
There are twelve months to a year, each month being identifiable with a unique (once a year) astronomical observation. The length of each month is either 29 or 30 days – that is, the time it takes the moon to go through all its phases. (This time is actually 291/2 days and is called a synodic month, but the Borana only keep track of whole days). Instead of weeks, there are 27 day names. Since each month is 29 or 30 days long we will run out of day names about two or three days early in the same month. The day names can therefore be recycled and for day 28 we use the first day name again, the second day name for day 29, and start the next month using the third day name. Thus each month will start on a different day name. Whether the particular month is to be 29 or 30 days long would depend on the astronomical observations, which are quite ingeniously defined.
The seven stars (or star groups) used to derive the calendar are, from northernmost to southernmost, 1) Beta Triangulum – a fairly faint navigation star in the constellation of the Triangle, 2) Pleiades – a beautiful, blue star cluster in the constellation of Taurus the Bull, and sometimes referred to as the seven sisters, 3) Aldebarran – a bright, red star that represents the eye of Taurus, 4) Belletrix – a fairly bright star that represents the right shoulder of the constellation Orion the Hunter, 5)Central Orion – the region around Orion’s sword where the Great Orion Nebula may be found, 6) Saiph – the star representing the right knee of Orion, and finally 7) Sirius – the brightest star in the night sky and the head of the constellation Canis Majoris, the Great Dog.
The New Year begins with the most important astronomical observation of the year – a new moon in conjunction with Beta Triangulum. (this day is called Bitotesa, and the next month is called Bitokara). The next month starts when the new moon is found in conjunction with the Pleiades. The third month starts with the new moon being observed in conjunction with the star Aldebarran, the next with Belletrix, then the area in between Central Orion and Saiph, and finally with the star Sirius. So the first six months of the calendar are started by the astronomical observations of the new phase moon found in conjunction with six specific locations in the sky marked by seven stars of star groups.
The method is now switched and the final six months are identified by six different phases of the moon (from full to crescent) being found in conjunction with only one position in the sky – the one marked by Beta Triangulum. Thus the whole Borana year is identified astronomically and when the new phase moon is again finally seen in conjunction with Beta Triangulum the New Year will start again. Since there are 12 such synodic months of 29 ½ days each, the Borana year is only 354 days long.
Now, in the latter part of the 1970’s another interesting development was to take place regarding the astronomy of this region. In 1977 Drs. B.M. Lynch and L.H. Robbins, who were working in the Lake Turkana area of northwestern Kenya, came upon what they believed was the first archaeoastronomical site ever found in sub-Saharan Africa. At Namoratunga, it consisted of 19 stone pillars, apparently man-made, that seemed to align toward the rising positions of the seven Borana calendar stars as they had appeared quite some time ago. (their suggested date from the various archaeological considerations, which still requires corroboration, was about 300 BC). Due to precession (the slow, wobbling of the pointing direction of the rotation axis of the Earth), the stars will seem to move from their positions over the centuries, although the moon’s position would not vary on this time scale. (Such an example is the alignment of certain features of the Egyptian pyramids with the star Thuban in the constellation Draco the Dragon, which was the north polar star about 5000 year ago; today it is Polaris and in several thousand years it will be Vega). If the date that Drs. Lynch and Robbins suggested was correct, the site would then correspond to the time of the extensive kingdom of Cush, referred to as Ethiopia in the Bible but actually centered about present day Sudan. One would then conclude that the Borana calendrical system was old indeed, having been developed by the Cushitic peoples in this area about 1800 years before the development of our present day Western Gregorian calendrical system.
In 1982, a number of significant questions arose concerning the site, the calendar, and archaeoastronomy of East Africa in general. The pillars were remeasured by an anthropologist in Kenya (Mr. Robert Soper) and found to be magnetic in nature. The original measurements had to be modified but, again, alignments with the seven Borana stars were found. However, this brought up the question of whether pillar alignments are significant at all, since the Borana ayyantu certainly can recognize the phases of the moon and when it is in conjunction with the appropriate seven stars. It was time to approach the question astronomically, and ask the moon and the stars how the calendar worked.
First, we could take the New Year’s observations, a new moon in conjunction with the faint star Beta Triangulum. What is meant by the term “conjunction” which is astronomically defined as the closest approach between two celestial objects? A new moon means that the moon is very close to the sun, being at best only a very small crescent, and therefore can only be seen just before sunrise or just after sunset. Interestingly enough, it turns out that during this twilight time the sky is too bright to be able to see the star Beta Triangulum so that seeing the new moon next to Beta Triangulum, the most important observation of the Borana calendar, was impossible!
In addition, assuming that the new moon and Beta Triangulum could be somehow seen rising together, the next month’s new moon rises significantly behind Pleiades, the newt conjunction star group. The third new moon rises with Belletrix, having skipped the third star, Aldebarran, completely. This is certainly not how the Borana described their calendar. If we were to continue to try to work the calendar in this way, by the start of the sixth month the new moon would be rising almost four hours after Sirius.
How could the calendar work then? Suppose (as we did), that one takes the term “conjunction” to mean “rising at the same horizon position” instead of “rising horizontally next to at the same time.” Thus one could mark the horizon rising position of Beta Triangulum, with pillars for instance, and once a year a new moon will rise at that position on the horizon. Let us suppose that this astronomical event marks the start of the New Year. We must add that we are taking the horizon rising position of these seven stars as they were in or around 300 BC, since present day Beta Triangulum has precessed too far to the north over the centuries and the moon will never rise there. However, the position of 300 BC Beta Triangulum, as well as the other Borana stars, was quite within the realm of the moon’s orbit.
Now where will the next new moon rise? It turns out to rise at precisely the rising position of Pleiades! The next new moon, marking the start of the third month, rises at the Aldebarran horizon position, the next at Belletrix, the next in between Central Orion and Saiph, and finally the sixth new moon rises at the horizon position that Sirius rose at during the night. During the next six months one can tell what month it is only in the middle of the month, since one has to wait to see what phase the moon is in when it appears at the Beta Triangulum horizon position. During the seventh month, as described, a full moon will be observed at the Beta Triangulum position. The next month a gibbous waxing moon, then a quarter moon, and successively smaller crescents will be seen there until, at the time when the 13th or first month should start the new year again (exactly 354 days later), a new moon is again seen rising at the Beta Triangulum position on the horizon.
It is interesting that one can draw some significant anthropological results from the astronomical derivation of this calendrical system. It would appear that the calendar would have had to have been invented (to use the stars correctly) sometime within a few hundred years of 300 BC, a time when the Cushitic peoples were dominant in this part of the world. Hence we would call it the Borana-Cushitic calendar. In addition, although the seven Borana-Cushitic stars no longer rise in the correct horizon positions to be correctly marked by pillars for observing the monthly rising position of the new moon, the present day Borana people nevertheless use this system of timekeeping. The implication is that the Borana require ancient horizon markers in their present derivation of the calendar.
Concerning the site at Namoratunga, and considering that the use of pillars is apparently necessary to the derivation of the calendar, such horizon markers as are found there may, indeed, have been an ancient observatory. Petroglyphs on the pillars at Namoratunga may also hold the possibility of being ancient and, if Cushitic, may represent the alignment stars or moon. Cushitic script has never been deciphered and any hints as to the meaning of tits symbols could be significant clues with very exciting prospects indeed!

Thus, archaeoastronomy in East Africa is still quite new and many discoveries await. From coming to understand, even in a small way, the calendrical reckoning and observational abilities of the ancient and modern astronomer-timekeepers of this region, Western thought should certainly not again underestimate the ingenuity and intellect present there. As for this Western thinker, this study continues to be a welcome lesson in perspective and humility, taught to him by his astronomical colleagues of long ago.”

This is a summary of a talk delivered at Caltech for Ned Munger’s African Studies class.

http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=2194.0;wap2

I Am Oromo January 25, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Athletic nation, Because I am Oromo, Boran Oromo, Dhaqaba Ebba, Fordi jeg er oromo, Gadaa System, Guji, Hora Harsadii (Bishoftuu), Humanity and Social Civilization, Maaddillee Oromo, Meroetic Oromo, Munyoo Oromo, Munyoyaya Oromo, Orma Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo Culture, Oromo Music, Oromo Nation, Oromo Sport, Oromummaa, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Rayya Oromo.
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Oromia and Kenya: Fascinating world of Kenya’s Borana Oromo People. #Africa. #Oromia January 24, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Boran Oromo, Cushtic, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Meroetic Oromo, Munyoo Oromo, Munyoyaya Oromo, Orma Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Wisdom, Oromummaa, Rayya Oromo.
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???????????Faith of the Oromo

Fascinating world of Kenya’s Borana Oromo

More information about Borana can be found at www.boranavoices.org
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  • The majority of the 500,000-strong Borana tribe live in Kenya but some also live in Ethiopia and Somalia
  • Women use clarified butter (ghee) to keep their hair in perfect condition and wear it in elaborate plaits
  • Girls have the crown of their heads shaved, with the hair only allowed to grow after they marry
  • Other beliefs include the fear that having your photo taken removes some blood and steals your shadow 
  • They also believe in a single god named Wak, although more are converting to Christianity and Islam 

A nomadic people, their lives revolve around finding good grazing for their herds of camels and cattle, which combined, provide everything they need to survive in the striking semi-arid scrub land they inhabit.

But while men dominate village life and are in charge of the herds, women play a vital role and are in sole charge of building Borana homes and performing the elaborate dances that signal the birth of a baby.

Dressed in her best: A Borana woman wearing traditional garb made from goat skins. The expensive dresses are now kept only for best

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Rules: Many of the Borana’s rules apply to children, including a prohibition on addressing anyone older than themselves by their first name

With so little water to be had, their beauty routine is an unusual one and involves anointing their locks with ghee (clarified butter) to keep hair smooth and shiny.

Girls are given the most striking hairdos and wear the crown of their heads shaved until they marry, at which point the hair is allowed to grow back while the rest is plaited into elaborate designs.

But hair isn’t the only part of life governed by the Borana’s centuries-old laws. The majority of rules apply to children who, for instance, aren’t allowed to call anyone older than themselves by their first names.

Those names are also governed by tribal law and are inspired by the time of day they were born. ‘Boys born in broad daylight are always called Guyo,’ explains photographer Eric Lafforgue who took these incredible pictures.

‘Some are named after a major event, a ceremony (Jil), a rainy season (Rob) or a dry season (Bon). Others are named after weekdays while a few get odd names such as Jaldes (ape), Funnan (nose), Gufu (tree stump) and Luke (lanky long legs).’

Whatever their parents decide to call them, all children are given a place in the social pecking order at birth – and once done, it is rare for it to be changed.

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Welcome: The birth of a baby of either gender is marked by a traditional women-only dance which welcomes the infant into the world

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Hard work: Women are in sole charge of building Borana homes and since they move four times a year, have to work extremely hard

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Elaborate: A woman carries milk in an engraved gourd and shows off a bead ring (left). Right: The chief’s wife is given special jewellery

boran2

Shaved: Girls such as this one have the crowns of their heads shaved until marriage. Afterwards, hair grows back and is plaited

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Changing times: Traditionally, the Borana believed in a single god called Wak. Now Islam and Christianity are beginning to make inroads

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Moving: Many of the young people are leaving the tribe behind for jobs in town, among them this trio who send money home to their families

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Screened: Borana women are not allowed to come face-to-face with their son-in-laws. If they do, both must immediately cover their faces

The luckiest are the sons of village chiefs who are placed in the top grade, daballe, at birth and show their status with long locks that make them resemble girls.

As future chiefs themselves, no one is allowed to punish them, even when they misbehave, while their mothers gain an honoured place in society and are frequently asked to bless well-wishers.

These women are also given special jewellery to wear usually made from colourfully beaded leather, enlivened on occasion with recycled Coca-Cola caps.

Those who aren’t married to a chief, although often forced to share a husband, do get some special benefits including being in sole charge of who can and cannot enter their homes – spouses included.

‘A wife always decides who will enter in the house,’ explains Lafforgue. ‘If her husband comes back and finds another man’s spear stuck into the ground outside her house, he cannot go in.’

Women are also in sole charge of raising their daughters and usually insist that they become excellent housewives. Men, when they come to choose a wife, will often judge the girl by her mother, which makes getting it right all the more important.

Older women are honoured as the keepers of tribal lore, although not all of it makes sense to Western ears. ‘Old people are afraid of having their picture taken,’ says Lafforgue. ‘They believe that when you take their photo, you remove their blood and steal their shadow.’

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New religion: An increasing number of Borana are becoming Muslim and have adopted Islamic customs such as the headscarf

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Respected: Older women are honoured as keepers of village lore while this boy (right) is the son of a chief and can never be punished

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Important man: This man is the overseer of one of the Borana’s network of wells. It is taboo to fight over water

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Chief: The Borana elect a leader every eight years. The ‘father of the village’ wears a special headdress called a kalacha

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Home: Women have the final say on who can enter their homes. If a man finds another man’s spear outside his wife’s hut, he can’t go in

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Laborious: Women are tasked with building all the houses, as well as dismantling and rebuilding them when the village moves on

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Livelihood: The Borana’s cattle and camels are their most precious possessions and are nearly always cared for by men

Sorce: TKG News


For more click Borana Voices

Source: http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/fascinating-world-of-kenyas-borana-oromo-tribe-revealed/

Oromia: The Ethiopian Empire Formation And Its consequences On The #Oromo And Beyond. #Africa January 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Afar, Agaw people, Boran Oromo, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopian Empire, Ethnic Cleansing, Mursi, National Self- Determination, Ogaden, OLF, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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“…The sustained and bloody campaign of Minilik resulted in the cutting of limps of men of all ages, breasts of women of the Arssi Oromos, which many Oromo Anthropologists, historians and the elderly equate it to the genocide committed against the Armenians by the Ottman Turks Empire during the First World War, in which over a million Armenians were killed.”

The Ethiopian Empire Formation And Its consequences On The Oromo And Beyond

By Bakkalcho Barii 

With the help of the then three colonial powers, Minilik, the Abyssinian king managed to break and conquer the Oromo Country and beyond in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Following this war of conquest, the invading Abyssinian colonial army not only committed genocide on the entire Oromo, Walita, Sidama, and other people, but also, committed cultural, historical, social,and economic genocides in this new frontiers by imposing Abyssinian culture, language, way of life, administrations, and religion. These crimes were committed by presenting anything Abyssinian as superior to the languages, cultures, system of governance of the new colonies, as Europeans did practice when they conquered vast territories in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  

Thanks to their heroes and heroines, the Oromo and the Southern people begun the journey of re-claiming what istheirs and re-writing their own history. Like other Empires in history, the Ethiopian Empire shall collapse by the subjected people, on which it has been built on, and that processes of de-colonization and the wheel of freedom is marching forward with full gear so that those subject nations shall claim their due place among the free nations of the world. The late P.T.W Baxter spent much of his time studying mainly the Boran and the Arssi Oromos. Paul Baxter documented and wrote many research books and articles on the Oromo way of life, their Gada system of governance and their experiences under the Ethiopian empire after the Minlik colonial army managed to conquer much of the Oromo land and the Southern nations by default and with the help of the then European Colonial powers, the French, the British and the Italians.

In his research article titled “Ethiopia’s Unacknowledged Problem: The Oromo” (July 1978) wrote the following; “Each of the Oromo peoples has a distinctive history but all shared comparable experiences; ……….perhaps I may select a few observed by myself in Arssi to illustrate some common types of Oromo experience under Abyssinian rule. …… The Arssi and the Oromo Country beyond were finally subjugated by Shoan gun power in 1887 after six different annual campaigns which R.H Kofi Darkwa, the Ghanaian historian of Menilek reign, summarizes as “perhaps the most sustained and the most bloody war which Menilek undertook.”

The above description of the sustained and bloody campaign of Minilik resulted in the cutting of limps of men of all ages, breasts of women of the Arssi Oromos, which many Oromo Anthropologists, historians and the elderly equate it to the genocide committed against the Armenians by the Ottman Turks Empire during the First World War, in which over a million Armenians were killed.

Paul Baxter and John Hinnant, who both studied the Arssi, the Boran and the Guji Oromos in the 1960s, summarized the experiences of those Oromos under conquest as the following: “The Arssi described their conquest by Abyssinians as the commencement of an era of miseries, since which life has not run as God intended it but out of true”.  “The Boran likewise divided their history into two eras, before and after, the first of which was good and the second bad” to describe what colonization has brought upon them.

Similarly, John Hinnant described the experiences of the Guji Oromos as tending “to blame all social problems on their incorporation into the Ethiopian empire.”  The above feelings and humiliation expressed and felt by the Boran, the Arssi and the Guji Oromos are the same as the feelings and humiliation felt by the Oromos of the Wollo, the Rayya, the Karayu, the Ittu, the Leqa, the Mecha, and the Tulama.

One would always ask how successive Abyssinians regimes managed to rule over the Southern nations, including the Oromo’s (currently known as the subjects or colonies), who constitute more than two-third of the entire populations of the Ethiopian Empire for so long?

The precise answer to the above question was given by Paul Baxter in his article “Ethiopia’s Unacknowledged Problem: The Oromo, in which he says “ The absolute political domination and cultural dominance of the Amhara ( now the Tigres), has resulted in the public presentation of Ethiopia as a state with a much more unitary culture than , in fact, it has. Even scholars have come to accept Ethiopia at the evaluation of its own sophisticated and charming elite.”

The current Tigrian elites copied their Amhara elite’s, their predecessors, in presenting their Empire as a unitary and at peace with itself while waging unprecedented war of genocide on the Oromo people and other nations. They (both the Amhara & Tigre elites) hired foreign PR companies, influential individuals, and lobbyists in Western capitals and political corridors to maintain their marginalization of the Oromos and the Southern people, and present their Empire at peace with itself at the expense and misery of the subject people.

Of all the Abyssinian regimes, the current TPLF regime can only be equated with that of Minilik rule because TPLF rulers, like Minilik openly declared the entire Oromo people as the enemy of the state, and placed them in open concentration camps, in parallel with what the Nazi Germany inflicted on the Jewish communities of Europe during the Second World War.

The question many Oromos and friends of Oromos raise is Why is it the current rulers of the Empire (the TPLF), and their unprecedented scale of human rights violations and abuses on the Oromos is different from the past three regimes of the Empire rulers?

Unlike the past three regimes, who rose from the Amahric speaking Abyssinians, the TPLF originates from a minority Tigre region, which comprises only about five percent of the current Ethiopian Empire population, and was junior partners or foot-soldiers with the invading Minilik army during a war of conquest and expansion of the Abyssinian Empire towards the south.

Secondly, the TPLF rose from a century old power struggle with its close kin, the Amharas, who defeated the Tigre king Yohannes IV. In other words, the TPLF came to power not only to rule over the Empire but also to avenge their century old wounds against their kin, the Amharas. Thirdly, TPLF’s cleverly learnt the shortcomings of the Amaharas rulers over the colonies and, for the first time in the history of the Empire forcefully accepted the existence of independent nations like the Oromo’s, and allowed some form of self-rule and the use of their languages in office and schools.

However, when it comes to responding to the  democratic and justice demands of the Oromo for total liberation from alien rulers, TPLF created satellite organizations who speak the languages of the indigenous population and used them as a Trojan horses to kidnap, harass, kill, displace and jail thousands of innocent Oromo for only demanding their country Oromia be free, and it is only the Oromos as owners and custodians of their Country Oromia, who shall decide their future relationships with neighbouring countries, including the Abyssinian themselves.  According to official reports by Amnesty International, Oromia Support Group and other local human rights bodies, currently there are close to 45,000 innocent Oromo prisoners of conscience in different TPLF concentration camps.

Finally, the event of the September the 11th, 2001, in which thousands of innocent American lives were lost by a global terrorist organization called Al-Qaida. This horrific incident played well in the hands of TPLF rulers and exploited to receive billions of dollars and military aid in the name of fighting Islamic extremism in the region, but in actual facts to crash its opponents by bullying and invading neighbouring countries of the region with the tacit support of the Western powers.

The late TPLF ruler, Meles Zenawi loudly and clearly declared on many occasions that, TPLF conquered the Empire’s power by the barrel of guns, and, therefore, it can only be forced out of power by those who can use the same tactics. This reminded me of that famous saying “Power never gives up by will” but only by force.

The current minority regime of the TPLF hell-bent on not only committing unprecedented human rights atrocities against the Oromos and other nations in the South, its determinations to displace millions of Oromo from their ancestral land and selling those lands at the lowest bid to its foreign backers, destroy their forests by clearing in the name of development, and expose current and future generations of Oromos and the southern nations to environmental genocide shall have huge implications for the years to come.

The challenge for the Oromos and the people of the South is that the old guards, who conquered and built the Ethiopian Empire are so desperate and furious for losing the Empire to their junior partners, and making everything they  can to re-claim their lost glory in the name of united Ethiopia, one vote and individual democratic rights slogans. These old guards of the Empire are barking and pulling their hair inside and outside of the country to undo the symbolic self-rule that is currently in-place that successive Oromo generations earned by much blood and sacrifice.

As one of my favourite young broadcaster, journalist and poet Abdi Fixe recently put on his comment regarding the fire that destroyed the Taitu Hotel in Finfinnee, “ where were these people who were so enraged by the burning of a hotel, for which the cause of the fire is not known yet, and silent when the TPLF Agazi militia murdered over seventy Oromo University students at Ambo and other Universities across Oromia for peacefully demonstrating against the expansion of Finfinnee? Where were these people when TPLF Agazi army carried out mass murder on the people of the Gambella, Sidama? Where were these people when TPLF deliberately burned Forests across all over Oromia?

In fact, they were cheering and clapping from the side when and every time TPLF carries-out their dirty work and some of them even could not hide their hatred towards the Oromos, the Gambellas, the Sidamas, and went on air and different social Medias in support of TPLF’s dirty deeds against the Oromo and the South. For Oromo and Southern compatriots in the Diasporas, keep it up the pressure on TPLF’s backers not to fund and support this in-humane and autocratic regime by coordinating your resources and hiring PR groups, lobbyists on behalf of your people back in the Empire, by collecting facts and figures of human rights violations that were committed and going to be committed, and expose them to governments and agencies in the West not to support this brutal regime diplomatically, financially and militarily.

Describing why the Oromo demand for statehood has not received news coverage in the West, despite the problem of the Oromo has been a major and central one in the Ethiopian Empire ever since it was created by Minilk in the last two decades of the 19th Century, Paul Baxter attributes the failings of the Western media for failing to cover this major issue due to two major factors:  The first factor was all “the difficulties the Ethiopian Empire has been enduring were the conflicts in the north and eastern frontiers ( with Eritrea and Somalia), which were fairly reported due to their accessibility to foreign reporters, coupled with the interests of the Great Powers and their satellites have been involved”.  “The second factor for the under-coverage or total absence of covering the Oromo and the Ethiopian Empire conflicts was the absolute political domination and cultural dominance of the Amhara has resulted in the public presentation of Ethiopia as a state with a much more unitary culture than, in fact, it has. Even some Western and “African Scholars” have come to accept Ethiopia at the evaluation of its own sophisticated and charming elite.”  There is one last myth or propaganda both the Abyssinian camps are using as a last resort to foil the total liberation of Oromos and the Southern people, including the Ogadenian Somali brothers, who have similar aspirations being free from Abyssinian domination. This last myth or propaganda currently waged and used by both Abyssinian camps are puffing out “is if Oromia shall become independent, their neighbouring Nations such as Sidama, Walita, Kambata, Hadiya, Harari & Somali will be dominated or even cease to exist as a people.

This is a complete myth used as a last resort to delay the inevitable liberation of Oromia and other nations indicated above. We Oromos, have lived peacefully and protected these nations to maintain their way of life, languages, culture, religious practices, and we have been living with these nations for thousands of years.  Imagine if these nations were bordering either the Amhara or Tigre Abyssinians? Their fate would have very similar to the Wollo Oromos who were forced to be Amharized and the Rayya Oromos, who were forced to abandon their language and history to be Tigre speaking people. Above all, we Oromos share common way of life and share closer kinship with our neighbours unlike what the Empire rulers try to portray.

One last message to my Oromo and the Southern compatriots to support their political and media organizations to shed lights and expose the chronic human rights violations perpetrated by successive Abyssinian regimes, so that their people back home shall rise and get rid-off them once and for all for peace to reign in that part of Africa. Strengthening and empowering Oromo Media Organizations will fill this void and the under-reporting of Oromo and the southern people conflicts with the Ethiopian Empire.

Let me quote the late P.T.W. Baxter and conclude my message:

“……But the efflorescence of feelings of common nationhood and aspirations for self-determination among the cluster of peoples who speak Oromo has not been much commented upon. Yet the problem of the Oromo people as has been a major and central one in the Ethiopian Empire ever since it was created by Minilik in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. If the Oromo people only obtain a portion of the freedoms which they seek then the balance of political power in Ethiopia will be completely altered. If the Oromo act with unity they must necessarily constitute a powerful force. ………..If an honest and free election was held ( an Unlikely event) and the people voted by ethnic blocks, as experience of elections elsewhere in Africa suggests that they well might do, then around half the votes would be cast by Oromo for the Oromo…”

May Waqaa Bless our forefathers, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price for the dignity of the Oromo People and the southern nations.

Bakkalcho Barii

This article is originally published in  ayyaantuu.com

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/the-ethiopian-empire-formation-and-its-consequences-on-the-oromo-and-beyond/

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Oromia: Featuring Raya Wollo (Raya Oromo) People. #Oromo. #Africa January 8, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in 10 best Youtube videos, 25 killer Websites that make you cleverer, Africa, Because I am Oromo, Black History, Boran Oromo, Culture, Cushtic, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Meroetic Oromo, Munyoyaya Oromo, Orma Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Waata Oromo, Wardei Oromo.
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Featuring Raya Wollo (Raya Oromo) People: Northernmost Cushitic Oromo People

January 8, 2014 (kwekudee trip down memory lane) — Celebrating our African historical personalities,discoveries, achievements and eras as proud people with rich culture, traditions and enlightenment spanning many years.

Raya Oromo girls

The Raya  Wollo people, sometimes called Raya Oromo are agricultural and music-loving Cushitic Oromo people but now mixed with small amalgamated Tigre and Amhara bloodlines living in the Debubawi Zone of the current Tigray Regional State at the eastern edge of the Ethiopian highlands in Ethiopia.

61_Girls_from_the_Raya_Wollo_tribe_shopping_atHistorically, the Raya Wollo (Raya Oromo), with the Yejju Oromo, are the northernmost groups of the Oromo people and are a part of the Wollo Oromo Tribe. Their women especially are known by their distinctive hair-braiding styles and facial tattoos.

The official map of Oromia shown below includes the Raya-Azebo territory on its northernmost tip.

The Wollo Oromo (particularly the Raya Oromo and Yejju Oromo) were early Oromo holders of power among the increasingly mixed Ethiopian state. The later north-to-south movement of central power in Ethiopia led to Oromos in Shewa holding power in Ethiopia together with the Shewan Amhara. “In terms of descent, the group that became politically dominant in Shewa – and Subsequently in Ethiopia – was a mixture of Amhara and Oromo; in terms of language, religion and cultural practices, it was Amhara.

73. Man from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia

Currently, Debubawi Zone/Raya-Azebo woreda (county) is bordered on the south by Alamata, on the southwest by Ofla, on the northwest by Endamehoni, on the north by Hintalo Wajirat, and on the east by the Afar Region. The administrative center of this woreda (county) is Mersa; other town in Raya-Azebo includes Weyra Wuha.

Despite their historic resistance against dominance (read any literature on Ethiopian history, the Raya Oromo revolt given below is mentioned as the first revolt against the Teferi government as early as the late 1920′s and as the predecessor of the Bale Oromo revolt), Raya’s ties with the rest of Oromia have weakened due to years of wars in that part of the region. Today, the challenge should be given to Oromo artists to produce music of the Raya in Afan Oromo; music serves as a cultural ambassador as well as a path to reconnect to one’s historic past (heritage). It’s also paramount that the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) set up a session during its annual meeting to deliberate on the history of Raya Oromo and on ways to bring about the renaissance of Oromummaa in Raya.

Why the name Raya Wollo?
Wollo was an historical region and province in the northeastern part of Ethiopia, with its capital city at Dessie. The province was named after the Wollo Oromo, who settled in this part of Ethiopia in the 17th century. An older name for Wollo is Lakomelza.

Following the invasion by Britain that toppled Italian colonial authority in 1941, the provinces of Amhara Sayint, Azabo, Lasta, Raya Province, Wag, and Yejju were added to Wollo. A number of peasant rebellions rocked Wollo, which included the Woyane rebellion in 1943, and revolts of the Yejju Oromo in 1948 and 1970. With the adoption of the new constitution in 1995, Wollo was divided between the Afar Region, which absorbed the part of the province that extended into the Afar Depression; the Tigray Region, which annexed the northwestern corner; and the Amhara Region, which absorbed the remainder of the province in the Ethiopian highlands.

Raya Wollo man

Young woman from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia. johangerrits

Northern Marginalization under Shewan Rule
The northern provinces of Gonder, Gojjam, Wollo and Tigray are  the heartland of  the “core” culture of Ethiopia — the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the Amharic language and script, plow-based agriculture, and many elements of the social system of the country derive from this historic region.  Most of the Emperors also came from here.

At the end of the 19th century, the center of power in Ethiopia decisively shifted from the north to Shewa, with the assumption of  the  title of Emperor by Menelik, King of Shewa.  Menelik was an Amhara, from  the dynasty that  ruled Manz, at the northern  tip of  the modern province of Shewa.  The majority of the inhabitants of the rest of Shewa were Oromo — as is the case  today.    In  terms  of  descent,  the  group that  became  politically  dominant  in  Shewa  (and subsequently in Ethiopia) was a mixture of Amhara and Oromo; in terms of language, religion and cultural practices, it was Amhara.  The northern Amhara regarded the Shewans as “Galla” (the pejorative  term  for Oromo), and together with the Tigrayans and  some of  the Agau and Oromo people in Wollo, resisted the new Shewan domination, which led to their economic and political marginalization.

Tatooed Wollo Woman, Mezan Teferi , Ethiopia © Eric Lafforgue

Revolt in Wollo
Between 1928 and 1930 there was a rebellion — or a series of rebellions — in northern Wollo  against  Shewan  domination.   The  specific  political  cause was  support  for Ras Gugsa  Wale, a northern Amhara lord with a strong claim on the throne, against the Shewan Ras Teferi  (who crowned himself the Emperor Haile Selassie after defeating the revolt). The government  suppression of the revolt led to quartering soldiers with local people, interrupting the salt trade,  and  involved massive  looting and confiscation of cattle.   Combined with drought and  locusts,  the  result was  famine. Haile Selassie  ordered  the  importation  of grain  from  India  to  supply  Addis Ababa, but there was no relief for north Wollo. Political measures were taken after the revolt, including the replacement of much of the administration, which formerly had local roots, with  appointees  from  Shewa;  and  the  joining  of  the  rebellious  districts  to  the  province  of  southern Wollo,  which  was  ruled  with  harshness  and  venality  by  the  crown  prince. These helped to contribute to the further marginalization of the area, and the series of famines which plagued the area up to the fall of the Emperor.

The  cumulative  impact  of  imperial misrule  and  the  petty  tyrannies  of  local  landlords created  an  atmosphere  in  which  development  was  extremely  difficult,  as  described  by  two consultants investigating the possibility of starting livestock projects:
Wollo is virtually impossible … there is such an obscuring weight of disbelief, suspected innuendo and antagonisms; such a mess of mis-government at petty levels, and such a
lading  of  landlords  that  there  is almost nothing  to  start with and nowhere  to start  that
will  not  go  wrong  or  sour  …  [there  is]  the  smothering  welter  of  the  weeds  of  an
entrenched and stagnant society.

The Weyane in Tigray

Following the restoration of Haile Selassie after the defeat of the Italians in 1941, there was a  revolt  in Tigray.   Known as  the Weyane,  this was  the most  serious  internal  threat  that Haile Selassie  faced.   An alliance of  the Oromo semi-pastoralists of Raya Azebo, disgruntled peasants, and  some  local  feudal  lords, under  the military  leadership of a  famous shifta, Haile Mariam Redda, the rebels nearly succeeded in overrunning the whole province.4  British aircraft had to be called in from Aden in order to bomb the rebels to ensure their defeat.  While some of the  aristocratic  leaders,  such  as  Ras  Seyoum Mengesha,  were  treated  gently  and  ultimately allowed  to  return  and  administer  the  recalcitrant  province,  there  were  reprisals  against  the ordinary people.  Most notably, the Raya and Azebo Oromo were subjected to wholesale land alienation, and much of their territory was transferred to the province of Wollo.  This area was badly hit in subsequent famines, partly as a consequence.

Girl from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia. johangerrits

Tax Revolts in Gojjam
Gojjam treasured its independence for centuries, and did not submit willingly to Shewan rule. The  issue around which opposition  repeatedly coalesced was any attempt by  the central government  to measure  land and  tax  it.   Taxation was not only  resented as  the  imposition of unjust exertions by government, but was feared as the means whereby the traditional land tenure system would be undermined, and the farmers’ independence destroyed.

  In the 1940s and ’50s there was a series of attempts to measure land in Gojjam, prior to taxation.  In the face of peasant resistance, including violence, all attempts failed.  In the early 1960s, only 0.1 per cent of the land had been measured, and Gojjam, one of the richest and most populous provinces, paid less land tax than the poor and thinly populated province of Bale.  In 1950/1 there was armed resistance, including a plot to assassinate Haile Selassie.  However the most  serious  revolt  occurred  in  1968,  in  response  to  the most  systematic  attempt  to  levy  an agricultural income tax to date.

  In  February  1968,  in  reaction  to  the  arrival  of  parties  of  government  officials accompanied  by armed  police,  the  peasants  of Mota  and Bichena  districts  resorted  to  armed resistance.  After months of stalemate while much of the province remained out of government control, Haile Selassie sent troops to Gojjam in July and August.  The air force bombed several villages;  it burned houses but  its main  task was probably  intimidating  the  resistance.   Several hundred people died, according  to contemporary accounts, but the Gojjamis remained defiant.

Finally, in December, Haile Selassie backed down.  He visited Gojjam in 1969, cancelled all tax
arrears, and made no serious attempt to collect the new taxes.

Famines in Wollo and Tigray
In 1974,  the Emperor Haile Selassie became notorious  for his attempts  to conceal  the existence of  the  famine of 1972-3  in Wollo.   This, however, was only one  in a succession of such incidents.  Prof. Mesfin Wolde Mariam of Addis Ababa University has documented how the  famines  of  1958  and  1966  in  Tigray  and Wollo were  treated  with  official  indifference, bordering on hostility towards the peasants who were considered sufficiently ungrateful for the divinely-sanctioned  rule  of Haile Selassie as  to allow  themselves  to defame his  reputation by dying of famine.

  There was severe famine in Tigray in 1958 which went without significant government relief.  In 1965/6, reports of famine from Were Ilu awraja in Wollo arrived at the Ministry of the Interior in November 1965, one month after the situation became clear to the local police, but no action was  taken.   The  information  took  a  further  302  days  to  reach  the Emperor, who  then requested the Ministry of the Interior to act — which it did by asking officials in Wollo to send a list of the names of the people who had died.6  A small relief distribution was then authorized.

The only consistent response to famine was to regard it as a security problem — famine created destitute migrants, who needed to be prevented from entering towns, particularly Addis Ababa.
Both the 1958 and 1965/6 famines killed tens of thousands of people.

  The famine that struck Wollo during 1972-3 played a crucial role in Ethiopian history:
“the revelation of that famine by the British television journalist Jonathan Dimbleby played a key
role  in  precipitating  the  downfall  of  the  rule  of Haile Selassie.   Between  40,000  and  80,000
people  died.” The  famine  also  led  directly  to  the  creation  of  the  Relief  and  Rehabilitation
Commission (RRC), the powerful government department mandated to prevent and ameliorate
future famines, and to coordinate international assistance.  The 1972-3 famine was the last one
in which  there were  no  functioning mechanisms  for  the  delivery  of  large-scale  humanitarian
relief.

  The Wollo  famine was  popularly  blamed  on  drought,  a  backward  and  impoverished
social system, and the cover-up attempted by the imperial government.  These factors were all
important — though it must be remembered that specific actions by the government, especially
after  the  Ras  Gugsa  and  Weyane  revolts,  were  instrumental  in  creating  the  absence  of
development.  In addition, forcible alienation of resources and violence also played an important
role.

  The  group  that  suffered most  from  the  famine were  the Afar  pastoral  nomads  of  the
Danakil desert.  Famine had already gripped them in early 1972.  The Afar inhabit an arid semi-
wilderness, utilizing pastures over a large area to support their herds.  In times of drought, they
are  forced to move  to areas which they do not normally exploit.   Traditional drought reserves
included the Tcheffa Valley, on the rift valley escarpment, and pastures along the inland delta of
the Awash  river where  the waters  dissipate  into  the  desert.    In  the  1960s  the Tcheffa Valley
became the location of commercial sorghum farms, and small farmers from nearby also began
to use much of the land.  Meanwhile, large cotton plantations were developed along the Awash.
By 1972, 50,000 hectares of irrigated land had displaced 20,000 Afar pastoralists.

  During the years of good rainfall, the loss of the drought reserves was not noticed by the
Afar, but when repeated drought struck, they found that a necessary resource they had utilized
sporadically for generations had been alienated, without compensation.  Famine among the Afar
was certainly caused by drought — but by drought acting on a society that had been deprived of
the means of responding to that threat.

Portrait of a Man Holding a Christian Symbol, Bieta Golgotha, Lalibela, Wollo Region

Official indifference to the plight of the Afar is illustrated by an incident in 1974, when
the flood waters of the Awash river were directed to the Dubti valley in order to irrigate cotton
plantations.  The resident Afar population was not informed, and 3,000 lost their homes, while
100 were “missing.”

  Mobility is crucial to survival among the Afar.  Nomadic in normal times, the ability to
move freely over large distances becomes a vital concern when resources are short.  In the early
1970s,  the Afar’s mobility  was  further  restricted  by  the  flow  of  weaponry  to  their  nomadic
neighbors  and  competitors,  the  Issa  (who  are  ethnic  Somali).    The  Issa  themselves  were
suffering from the alienation of much of their pasture and restrictions on their movement.  The
result was an attempt by  the Afar  to appropriate wells  formerly used by  the  Issa.   This  led  to
widespread armed clashes, especially in 1972.  One Afar reported “Many people die.  Disease is
the first cause but the Issa are the second.”  Meanwhile, a survey done among the Issa reported
that homicide by the Afar was a major cause of death.  The famine also resulted in large-scale
armed clashes between the Afar and their Oromo neighbors in Wollo.

Man from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia.  johangerrits

The second group which suffered severely from the famine included farmers in a narrow
strip  of middle-altitude areas  of northern  and  central Wollo.   Those who  suffered most were
tenants.  The Raya and Azebo Oromo had been reduced to that state by massive land alienation
after they participated in the Weyane revolt against Haile Selassie in 1943.  Others were forced
to mortgage  or  sell  their  land  by  the  stresses  of  repeated  harvest  failures  in  the  early  1970s.
Landlords  took  advantage  of  their  tenants’ penury  by  insisting on  the  payment  of  large  rents,
often in kind.   This demand could be backed up by  force, as most  influential  landlords had a
retinue of armed guards.  The enforcement of crippling tenancy contracts in time of shortage had
the effect of taking food from the hungry.  Thus, during 1973, the famine area exported grain to
the provincial capital, Dessie, and to Addis Ababa.

  The famine was much less severe in Tigray province, despite the drought affecting both
provinces.  The difference can be largely accounted for by the different modes of land tenure —
in Tigray, most farmers owned their own land; in middle-land Wollo, most were tenants.
Finally,  the Emperor Haile Selassie considered that the peasants and nomads of Wollo
were shaming His reputation by starving, and resolved to ignore them.  Reports of famine were
consistently  ignored  or  denied.    In  response  to  a  report  by  UNICEF  documenting  famine
conditions  in  July  1973,  the Vice-Minister  of  Planning  retorted:  “If we  have  to  describe  the
situation in  the way you have in order  to generate  international assistance, then we don’t want
that assistance.  The embarrassment to the government isn’t worth it.  Is that perfectly clear?”

  Though  the  governor  of Wollo,  Crown  Prince  Asfa Wossen,  was  both  greedy  and
incompetent  (at the time of  the  famine he forced  the closure of commercial sorghum farms in
the  Tcheffa  Valley  by  engaging  in  litigation,  claiming  their  ownership),  Haile  Selassie was
never  in  ignorance  of  the  conditions  in Wollo.   A UN  official visited him  in early 1973 and
found  him well-informed  —  his  attitude was  that  peasants  always  starve  and  nothing  can  be
done,  and  that  in  any  case  it was  not  the  Shewan Amhara who were  dying.   On  belatedly
visiting the province in November 1973, his one remedial action was to announce that all who
had sold or mortgaged their land in the previous year could return and plow it during the coming
season, only leaving it to their creditors afterwards.  Even this minimal and tardy gesture was
not enforced.

The 1975 Northern Rebellions
The Wollo famine contributed to the downfall of Haile Selassie, not because the hungry
peasants  and  nomads  revolted  and  forced  him  out,  but  because  the  issue  gained  political
currency among the students and middle classes of Addis Ababa.  However, that is not to say
that the famine, and more generally the eight decades of political marginalization and economic
stagnation that preceded it, did not have serious consequences at the time of the 1974 revolution
and the years following.

Proud father with his daughter from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia.  johangerrits

In  the  early  1970s,  “peasant  risings  in  various  provinces  [were] an even more closely
guarded  secret  than  the  famine”.   These  revolts  intensified  in  during  the  revolution, with  a
series of rebellions led by feudal leaders in each of the northern provinces.  In Wollo, there was
a  revolt  by  a  feudal  lord,  Dejazmatch  Berhane  Maskal.    In  March  1975,  he  destroyed  an
Ethiopian airlines DC3 at Lalibella.  In October, he rallied supporters after a spree of killings of
former landlords by peasants and government security officers.  Dej. Berhane’s ill-armed force
of 5,000 was defeated by government militia and air  force attacks near Woldiya in December
1975, but he continued to cause problems for the government for years.  Another feudal leader,
Gugsa  Ambow,  had  brief  military  successes  in  northern Wollo,  before  the  army  foiled  an
attempt  to  capture  Korem  in  mid-1976,  reportedly  causing  1,200  fatalities  among  Gugsa’s
peasant army and local villagers.18  Other smaller revolts occurred in Gojjam and Shewa.

  The most  significant  rebellion  started  in Tigray.   This was  an  insurrection  led  by  the
former governor, Ras Mengesha Seyoum (son of the governor at the time of the 1943 Weyane).
Ras Mengesha fled to the hills with about 600 followers in November 1984, when the Dergue
executed 60 officials of the previous regime.  Ras Mengesha combined with other members of
the aristocracy, notably General Negga Tegegne  (former governor of Gonder) and formed the
Ethiopian  Democratic  Union  (EDU)  in  1976.    They  obtained  encouragement  from  western
countries.  With Sudanese military assistance, the EDU occupied the towns of Metema, Humera
and Dabat (all in Gonder province) between February and April 1977,19 but was defeated by the
militia force sent to the province in June-July.

Young woman from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia.  johangerrits

The  EDU  remained  active  in  Tigray,  where  two  other  rebel  groups  were  also
operational.  The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was set up in February 1975 by a
group  of  left-wing  students  and  peasants,  incorporating  the  Tigray  National  Organization,
created  three  years earlier.   Prominent among  its early  leaders was Berihu Aregawi;  later  the
front was  headed  by Meles Zenawi.    In  1978,  the TPLF  set  up  the Relief Society  of Tigray
(REST),  headed  by  Abadi  Zemo.    It  espoused  a mix  of  Tigrayan  nationalism  and  socialist
transformation.   The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP), after defeat  in the urban
Red Terror (see chapter 6), retreated to a base in rural eastern Tigray in mid-1977.
The EDU was rent by divisions between its leaders, and its aristocratic leaders failed to
gain popular support among their erstwhile tenants.  Crucially, it suffered defeat at the hands of
the TPLF.20  The EPRP was also defeated by the TPLF and driven into Gonder, creating lasting
bitterness between the two organization.

  After  the  ill-fated Peasants’ March  of  1976,  the  government  launched  a  series  of  five military  offensives  in Tigray: November  1976,  June  1978, October-November  1978, March-
April 1979 and May-June 1979.  Small towns such as Abi Adi changed hands several times.  By
1979,  REST  estimated  that  50,000  people  in  Tigray  were  displaced  on  account  of  war.
Refugees from Tigray and Gonder began to arrive in Sudan in early 1975.  By May there were
34,000; by 1978  there were 70,000.    In February 1979,  the Ethiopian army  invaded Sudanese
territory at Jebel Ludgi, forcing the evacuation of the nearby refugee camp of Wad el Hileui.

Young woman from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia.  johangerrits

Dates and  Event of Raya Wollo (Raya Oromo) people
1929: Oromo peasants and nomads in Yejju, Raya or Wajerat districts of present southern Tigray and northern Wallo revolted against the rule of Haile Selassie and refused to pay the heavy taxes imposed on them.  The government dispatched troops to put down the revolt.  The peasants with few arms they possessed were able to defeat the troops and capture a large quantity of arms and ammunition.  Additional arms were obtained by the nomads from the Red Sea coast in Tajura.

1929: The Oromo fighters of the revolt in Yejju and Raya controlled a large part of their area and closed the trade route that connected Dasee, the capital of Wallo, to the south.  In a battle with the government forces in October 1929, the Oromo fighters captured 2,000 rifles and 12,000 cartridges.

1930: Tafari Makonnen, throne name Haile Sellassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and Emperor of Ethiopia, succeeded Zawditu to the throne.

1930: A large government force, led by the war minister, Mulugeta, arrived in Yejju and Raya regions.  The Oromo fighters put up stiff resistance.  The Oromo resistance was finally put down, although temporarily, mainly by the use of airplanes.  It was the first time airplanes were ever used in a war in the Empire.

1931: The first constitution of Ethiopia was introduced.  In this document the term “Abyssinia” was dropped in favor of “Ethiopia,” thereby defining Abyssinians and all the colonized peoples as “Ethiopians.”

1935/1936: Oromo of Raya and Qobbo were fighting Haile Selassie’s army.  At one point, on April 3, 1936 near Ashange Lake, they almost trapped Haile Selassie himself fleeing from the Italians.  He never put his feet in this area again after that.  During the same period, the Oromo guerrillas attacked the retreating Ethiopian army led by Ras Mulugeta and inflicted heavy casualties.  They revenged his earlier (1930) aerial attack on them by killing his son; he himself narrowly escaped.  One of the reasons for the attack was, the Ethiopian army on its way to the war had looted the property of the Oromo communities.

1943: The Oromo uprising in Raya was temporarily suppressed with the assistance of the British Royal Air Force stationed in Aden.  Many of the leaders of the Oromo movement were also implicated in the Woyane revolt in Tigray in 1943.

1947/1948: The Raya Oromo rose up in arms again.  Again after they had liberated a large area of their land, the movement was stopped when the British Royal Air Force in Aden, at the request of the Ethiopian regime, bombed the Oromo guerrilla positions

56. Woman from the Raya wollo tribe woman from the Raya Wollo tribe at Hayk market. Ethiopia.  johangerrits

Source: kwekudee trip down memory lane




Read more @ original source:  http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/featuring-raya-wollo-raya-oromo-people-northernmost-cushitic-oromo-people/

‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as We Welcome New Season, Irreecha 2014! September 2, 2014

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‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as We Welcome New Season, Irreecha 2014!

Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com |

From the Gadaa.com Editor’s Notebook

While researching about the Oromo tribes in Kenya, we ran into a video of Orma Oromo men engaged in friendly fighting competitions, where two men fight to see who will tackle their opponent first. Such a fighting match does also exist as a proud cultural element of the Raya Oromo, who nowadays speak Tigrigna or Amharic, which they have picked up from their neighbors in the North and West, respectively.

Gadaa.com

It’s to be noted that there are at least five Oromo tribes, in addition to the Borana and Garba, which call Kenya home. These five tribes, including their traditional homes, are listed below (alphabetically).

These tribes have been given many names over the last century-and-half by several authors, mainly without asking the people the name refers to (the same way the derogatory name for the Oromo made its way into academic works). The reason for this mix-up was primarily as a result of the use of second-hand sources, instead of the people themselves. It’s the task of the OromoQeerroo to conduct the researches on its own to learn about its own people’s history and roots.

Krapf, one of the early European travelers to Central Oromia (near the Tulama-land) and the southern Oromo tribes north of the Mombasa in the Tana Delta region in the 1850′s, had studied extensively about the Oromo on both sides of the border; he had published one of the early dictionaries of Oromo – one for each Oromo dialect. The dictionary by Krapf in Kenya was with Swahili and Afan Oromo. Unlike Krapf, many Kenyans do not have any idea about the ingenious Oromos who call Kenya home, and who are also their fellow citizens, in the Tana River, Isiolo and Marsabit regions; their only exposure to ‘Oromo’ is through the Ethiopian regime’s propaganda of the violence it inflicts in southern Oromia.

Reclaiming ‘Nagaa Oromoo’
Qeerroo (of both sides of the border) is at a historic position to reclaim the lost ‘Nagaa Oromoo’across the East African region; this historic mission will lead not only to the revival of Oromummaain the region, but also to the renaissance of Cushitic peoples in East Africa. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ was disrupted by the invasion of Abyssinian warlords and the subsequent aggression of Abyssinian warlords – which still continues to this day. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for Oromo; the Oromo people believe that, if their neighbor is not at peace, they are not at peace. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for humans, but also for other living things and the environment. There is no peace when other living things and the environment where one thrives on and lives with – are exploited and polluted by reckless actions, like the one imposed on the Oromo Nation by Woyane thugs. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!

The Oromo Nation opposes the TPLF Ethiopian regime’s Addis Ababa Master Plan to annex the Oromo-land in Central Oromiyaa and to demographically alter the ethnic makeup of the region. Such genocidal campaigns disturb ‘Nagaa Oromoo’, and the Oromo people (old and young) will fight to regain ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ in the region.

The five tribes (in addition to the Borana and Garba) in Kenya:

1) Munyoyaya: live in the Tana River County near Garissa, Anole and Kora, and adjacent to the Orma tribe. One can listen to “Afan Munyoyaya” here; the linguistic similarity with Afan Oromo is unmistakable at a glance; more studies need to be conducted.

2) Orma: live in the Tana River County, north of the Galana River and West of the Tana River. Linguists have studied the Orma dialect of Afan Oromo, and some dictionaries are also available.

3) Waata: live in the Tana River County (a sub-group of Orma); live near the Kipini area by the Indian Ocean (by the north of Mombasa).

4) Wardei: live in the Tana River County; though Wardeis speak mainly Somali, they believe they are Oromo. As in the case of the Raya and Wollo of northern Oromia, Wardei have adopted their neighbor’s language; however, Wardeis trace their ancestry to Oromo.

Report on Wardei in Swahili:
5) Waso Boran: live in the Isiolo County. According to the book, “Being Oromo in Kenya” by Mario Aguilar, Waso Boran have still maintained many of the cultural elements of Oromummaa.

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The following map below is from early 2000′s and shows the approximate distributions of Oromo in the Ethiopian Empire and Kenya:

Distribution of Oromo in Ethiopia & Kenya

‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!

 

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