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History of Oromo Social Organization: Gadaa Grades Based Roles and Responsibilities

Published in 2012, Dehu, Dereje Hinew, Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal - Archived on January 14th, 2014

Title: History of Oromo Social Organization: Gadaa Grades Based Roles and Responsibilities
Author: Dereje Hinew Dehu
Published: Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal Volume 1, Issue 3, 2012, pp. 97-105
Language: English
Keywords: Oromo, Social organization, Gadaa, Luba, Gogeessa

The major purpose of this manuscript is to depict how membership to gadaa grades determined the social-political and economic roles and responsibilities of individuals in the Oromo society, and show the viability of values of Gadaa in democratic culture. The Gadaa system is a special socio-political organization of the Oromo people that has its origin in the age-system of the Horn of Africa. In the system, male individuals were grouped into grades known as gadaa. As an age-based social organization, the Gadaa system provided the mechanism to motivate and organize members of the society into social structure. Various socio-political rights and responsibilities are associated with each group. Accordingly, the system provided a socio-political framework that institutionalized stratified relationship between seniors and juniors and egalitarian relations among members of the grade. Initiation into and promotion from one gadaa grade to the next were conducted every eight years. The fundamental quality of the Gadaa system is that it has segmentation and specified social functions for its members that helped the members to develop a consistent and stable sense of self and others.

Gadaa system is one of the main themes studied by scholars of different disciplines. Scholars that studied Gadaa system at large gave attention to the nature of the institution, the socio-cultural performance in Gadaa system, calendar, and the political aspect of the Gadaa system. Asmarom produced the most comprehensive ethnographic study on the indigenous Oromo socio-political organization based on the people’s oral historic records (Asmarom, 1973). However, none of the scholars studied the age-grade privileges and responsibilities of individual members and clearly depicted the training, knowledge acquired and the rights and duties attributed to the members.

Article in PDF format (Gadaa.com)

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Historical Significance of Odaa with Special Reference to Walaabuu

Published in 2012, Dehu, Dereje Hinew, Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal - Archived on February 28th, 2013

Title: Historical Significance of Odaa with Special Reference to Walaabuu
Author: Dereje Hinew Dehu
Published: Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal Volume 1, Issue 2, 2012, pp. 81-90
Language: English
Keywords: Waaqaa, Odaa, Gadaa, Caffee, Qaalluu, Galma

The aim of this paper is primarily to investigate the significance of Odaa (the holy sycamore tree) in the Gadaa System and to underscore the significance of Madda Walaabuu in the socio-political and religious life of the Oromo. In the history of the Oromo people, the general assemblies for socio-political and religious purposes are held at the Caffee under the shade of the Odaa tree. The whole set of Gadaa political activities, including Gadaa rituals, initiation, the handover of power ceremony, revising and enacting customary laws and judiciary practices, are held under the shade of the Odaa tree. As a result of its significance, the Odaa tree is honored, as symbolically, the most important of all trees. The close examination of people’s oral tradition and the use of available written materials help us to reconstruct the history of such a theme. Written sources related to the theme were gathered and about fifteen elders of different regions in Oromia were interviewed to recollect reliable traditions related to the topic. The sources recorded were analyzed based on the historical research. The minor finding reveals that there is a deep-rooted and wider range of socio-cultural and historical interpretation to Odaa (the sycamore tree). Odaa is customarily believed to be the most respected and the most sacred tree, the shade of which was believed as the source of tranquility. Shade of the Odaa was both the central office of Gadaa government where the Gadaa assembly met, and was a sacred place for ritual practices.

Article in PDF format (Gadaa.com)

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The Benefits of Integrating Traditional Institutions for Sustainable Management of Social Protection Programmes for Older People in Oromia: The Case of Arsi and Karayu Oromo Tribes

Published in 2012, Dekeba, Denebo, Thesis Collection - Archived on January 23rd, 2013

Title: The Benefits of Integrating Traditional Institutions for Sustainable Management of Social Protection Programmes for Older People in Oromia: The Case of Arsi and Karayu Oromo Tribes
Author: Denebo Dekeba
Published: Thesis Collection
Language: English
Keywords: Traditional Institutions, Family Law, Social Policy, Gadaa System

The Oromo nation has established traditional systems and mechanisms for managing its socio-economic problems (Dirribi, 2011). The system has been governed by traditional institutions that were customized to address the socio-economic and cultural problems faced by the people. Besides, the institutions enhance the socio-economic ties among the society through, among others, facilitating community initiatives of caring for vulnerable children, women and older people. These clearly indicate that involving such traditional institutions in the development and emergency humanitarian project/programmes would have paramount contributions towards sustainability of the interventions. However, the traditional institutions have not been involved in the process of managing social protection interventions undertaken in the Oromia National Regional State in spite of their implied strategic contribution for sustainability of those interventions. Besides, neither has the potential of these traditional institutions for enhancing sustainability of social protection interventions for older people been analyzed explicitly. This research is specifically intended to find out the benefits of integrating traditional institutions for sustainable management of social protection programmes for older people in Oromia.

Dissertation in PDF format

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Promoting and Developing Oromummaa

Published in 2012, Jalata, Asafa, Seminar Presentation - Archived on January 13th, 2013

Note: Repost due to server data loss.


Title: Promoting and Developing Oromummaa
Author: Asafa Jalata
Published: Seminar Presentation
Language: English
Keywords: Oromummaa, national liberation, settler colonialism, social emancipation

As any concept, Oromummaa has different meanings on conventional, theoretical, and political, and ideological levels.

Although the colonizers of the Oromo deny, most Oromos know their linguistic, cultural, historical, political, and behavioral patters that have closely connect together all of their sub-identities to the Oromo nation. There is a clear conventional understanding among all Oromo branches and individuals on these issues. The Oromo national movement has gradually expanded the essence and meaning of Oromummaa. The colonization of the Oromo and the disruption of their collective identity and the repression and exploitation of Oromo society have increased the commitment of some Oromo nationalists for the restoration of the Oromo national identity and the achievement of statehood and sovereignty through developing the intellectual, theoretical, and ideological aspects of Oromummaa. In other words, some Oromo nationalists and their supporters have started to further develop the concept of Oromummaa as a cultural, historical, political, and ideological project for recapturing the best elements of the Oromo tradition, critically assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Oromo society, and for formulating a broad-based program of action to mobilize the nation for social emancipation and national liberation.

In this paper, I argue that the critical and thorough comprehension of all aspects of Oromummaa is necessary to build a more united Oromo national movement. First, the paper introduces the conventional meaning of Oromummaa through identifying and explaining the major cultural and historical markers that differentiate the Oromo from their neighbors and other ethno-national groups. Second, it examines how Ethiopian settler colonialism has slowed the full development of Oromummaa by suppressing the Oromo national identity and culture, by killing real Oromo leaders and creating subservient or collaborative leadership, and by destroying and outlawing Oromo national institutions and organizations. Third, the piece illustrates how Oromo diversity can be recognized and celebrated within a democratic national unity. Fourth, it explores the concept of national and global Oromummaa as history, culture, identity, and nationalism. Fifth, the paper demonstrates how expanded Oromummaa can serve as the central and unifying ideology of the Oromo national movement for social emancipation and national liberation.

Seminar Presentation in PDF format

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Review of Land Grabbing Policies of Successive Regimes of Ethiopia

Published in 2012, Jaatee, Malkamuu, Mulataa, Zakaariyaas, Oromo Studies Association - Archived on January 13th, 2013

Note: Repost due to server data loss.


Title: Review of Land Grabbing Policies of Successive Regimes of Ethiopia
Authors: Malkamuu Jaatee and Zakaariyaas Mulataa
Published: Oromo Studies Association (OSA) – Presentation at Annual Conference 2012
Language: English
Keywords: Land, colonization, livelihood assets

Land is a foundation of natural resource of a country. Management of land affects political stability, socioeconomic prosperity, and cultural identity of a nation. Land grabbing policies of successive regimes of Ethiopia are generally reviewed to understand their impacts on social stability, economic prosperity, cultural identity, human rights, and political power of peoples living under colonialism. The current land grabbing policy of Ethiopia is critically analyzed to understand whether it is progressively architected development plan to improve livelihood assets of all peoples of Ethiopia or it is systematically articulated political strategy of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) regime to destabilize subsistence livelihood assets of rural communities of South Ethiopia in general, and Oromia in particular, to sustain 123 years old colonialism. Land ownership right is not only a customary or a legal right to access a plot of land to produce sufficient amount of crop and animal to secure supply of food for demand of a family, a community, and a nation at all time. It is directly linked to sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country and its citizens. The right to access land in Oromia and Southern Ethiopia before colonization was governed by customary law based on traditional principles. However, traditional land ownership rights of indigenous peoples were dismissed by military power of successive Abyssinian regimes basically rooted in technical, material, and financial aids of foreign organizations since 1880s, the era of scramble for colonization of Africa. Land tenure policy of Ethiopia is politically grouped into two levels, customary and colonial land use policies, respectively in North and South Ethiopia. It is coded as (1) Rist and Gebar, (2) state, and (3) public & investment land tenures during imperial (1889 – 1974), military (1974 – 1991), and the TPLF (1991 – current) regimes, respectively. Very dangerous land grabbing policy is intentionally designed by the TPLF regime to destabilize livelihood assets of peoples of Oromia and southern Ethiopia through aggravation of poverty, expansion of food insecurity borders, intensification of conflict, degradation of ecosystem, and advancement of human rights violation. The regime is systematically maintained insecurity through synergistic interconnection of effects of poverty, food insecurity, conflict, human right violations, and violence in order to sustain its military, economic, and political dominance over its colonial territories. These vicious cycles of violence and insecurity negatively affect legitimate national liberation struggle of oppressed peoples of Ethiopia.

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