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Hamar Girl

PEOPLE AND ETHNIC GROUPS

Ethiopia’s population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups with their own distinct languages within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic is the official language and was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.

Konso

UNESCO awarded World Heritage status to the Konso cultural landscape which features stone-walled terraces and fortified settlements dating back 400 years. UNESCO described the landscape as “a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations”. Brings the total number of World Heritage sites in Ethiopia to 9, making it the premier in the whole of Africa. The Konso are also well-known for their unique carved, wooden grave markers called waka. The marker is traditionally erected above the grave of an important Konso man or warrior and is surrounded by smaller statues of his wives and defeated enemies. Though this practice is disappearing, it is one of the points that made Konso earn the world heritage crown.

Mursi

The most celebrated residents of South Omo; where you can see their interesting culture like women when age reaches about 20, silt is cut between lower lip and mouth. Over the next year, the gap is progressively stretched until it is large enough for small circular clay or wooden plate, so the plate is replaced with the larger one, the process that is repeated until eventually the gap is large enough to hold the clay plate. The larger the lip plate woman can wear, the greater her value when she is married.

Karo

Karo People is very famous for their splendid body decoration: Body Painting and Body Scarification they paint their bodies and faces with white chalk to prepare for a ceremony. The chalk is mixed with yellow rock, red iron ore and charcoal to make its color like many other Omo valley tribes. Karo women are often decorating themselves by lip piercing

Dassanach.

The Dassanach who herd cattle live in dome-shaped houses made from a frame of branches , covered with hides. The huts have a hearth, with mats covering the floor used for sleeping. Women wear a pleated cow skin skirt and necklaces and bracelets, they are usually are married off at 17 while men are at 20. Boys are circumcised. Men wear only a checkered cloth around their waist.

Hamer People

Hamars live at the lower Omo River. Hamars originated as mixture of different tribes used to be living there. Women dress is usually very fancy. They are decorated by heavy metal bracelets, coral necklaces and shell wristlets. The traditional dress is made from sheep and goat skin ornamented with cowry shells. . They often use red soil mixed with butter to make hair braids. The richer woman is the more butter she uses. They sometimes wear aluminum shades kalles. Married women wear heavy metal ring as necklace called bignere. Very popular are ringed metal bangles. Men are making chic hairstyles, often decorated by ostrich plume. Every men, anywhere he is going, is wearing small wooden chair, which can be used as both chair and as a pillow. One of the famous ceremonies of the Hamer is the Bull jumping ceremony the boy, this rite of passage for men coming of age must be done before a man is permitted to marry.

Surma

Surma is the Ethiopian government’s collective name for the Suri, the Mursi and the Me’en with a total population of 186,875. All three groups speak languages of the southeast branch of the Surmic language cluster. Some have used the terms “Suri” and “Surma” interchangeably, or for contradictory purposes, so readers should note carefully what group an author is referring to.

Suri or Shuri is the name of a sedentary pastoral people and its Nilo-Saharan language in the Bench Maji Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia, to the Sudan border, and across the border in Sudan. Some are located west of Mizan Teferi.[3] Population: 20,622 (1998 est.).

Mursi or Murzu is the name of a closely related sedentary pastoral people whose language (Mursi) is over 80% cognate with Suri.[3] They are located next to the Suri in the center of the SNNPR and the lowlands southwest of Jinka in the Debub Omo Zone. The Mursi do not regard themselves as Surma, despite the cultural and linguistic similarities. Population: 7,500 of whom 92.25% live in the SNNPR (2007 census).

Tsamai people

The Tsamai people (also spelled Tsemay, Tsamay, Tsemai, Tsamako, or Tsamakko) are an ethnic group of southwestern Ethiopia. They speak an East Cushitic language called Tsamai, which is one of the Dullay languages, and thus related to the Bussa and Gawwada languages.

According to the 1998 Ethiopian census, the Tsamai number 9,702. The number of speakers of the Tsamai language is 8,621, with 5,298 monolinguals. Many Tsamai use the Konso language for trade purposes.Most Tsamai live in the Hamer Bena woreda of the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region, in the Lower Omo River Valley and just to the west of the Konso special woreda. Many Tsamai live in the town of Weyto, which is approximately 50 km from the town of Jinka, on the Konso-Jinka road.

Most Tsamai are agro-pastoralists, herding cattle as well as growing crops. Many Tsamai women wear clothing made from leather. Many Tsamai men carry small stools around with them, which they use in case they need to sit down.

Gumuz

Gumuz (also spelled Gumaz) is an ethnic group living in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region and the Qwara woreda of Ethiopia, as well as the Fazogli region of Sudan; they number about 200,000. In the past, they have been lumped with other peoples living along the Sudanese-Ethiopian border under the name of Shanqella (Pankhurst 1977). As Shanquella, they are already mentioned by Scottish explorer James Bruce in his Travels to discover the source of the Nile, published in 1790. He notes that they hunt with bows and arrows, a custom that survives today.

Their language is called Gumuz, which is classified as a Nilo-Saharan language (Bender 1979) and is subdivided in several dialects (Ahland 2004, Unseth 1985). Most members of this group live in a bush-savanna lowland environment. According to their traditions, in earlier times they inhabited the western parts of the province of Gojjam, but they were progressively banished to the inhospitable area of the Blue Nile and its tributaries by their more powerful neighbors -the Amhara and Agaw- who also enslaved them (Wolde-Selassie Abbute 2004). Slavery did not disappear in Ethiopia until the 1940s. Descendants of Gumuz people taken as slaves to the area just south of Welkite were found to still be speaking the language in 1984 (Unseth 1985).

Afar people

The Afar (Afar alphabet Qafár, Feera ዐፋር ʿāfār, Arabic: عفار‎, Amh. translit. āfār, also spelled አፋር) are an ethnic group in the Horn of Africa who reside principally in the Danakil Desert in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, as well as in Eritrea and Djibouti. They number 1,276,374 people in Ethiopia (or 1.73% of the total population), of whom 108,488 are urban inhabitants, according to the most recent census (2007).

The Afar make up over a third of the population of Djibouti, and are one of the nine recognized ethnic divisions (kililoch) of Ethiopia. The Afar language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, is spoken by ethnic Afars in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, as well as in eastern Eritrea and Djibouti. However, since the Afar are traditionally nomadic herders, they may be found further afield.

The Afar Danakil are the sister culture of the ancient Ta-Seti people. Whereas the Ta-Seti culture were amongst the founding branches of the eastern Bejaw or Beja People; the Ta-Antyu (Puntite) Utjenet Culture were progenitors of the Afari and Tigre cultures. The Land of Punt was of pivotal importance to the development of Egypt’s pre-dynastic civilization and played a significant role throughout dynastic Egyptian history. The Utjenet and Ta-Seti cultures formed a single territory until Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period when opposing cultures of Omo ethnic clans from further south and west pushed into central Sudan, separating the two branches of the Ta-Antyw. The Northern most branch would become the Ta-Seti whilst the Southernmost populations would become the Afar

 

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