By Kalundi Serumaga
Kalundi Serumaga: Recovering the Oromo Story in Ethiopia’s Fractured Past
Successive Ethiopian governments have tried to erase the history and culture of the Oromo people, but a recent conference held in Addis Ababa finally gave this marginalised community an opportunity to be heard.
The “Ayyaantuu”, are a body of persons within Ethiopia’s Oromo people, whose life’s work is calculating time using a complex system of numerology and astronomy to predict everything from weather patterns for the use of agricultural planning, to moments of societal upheaval.
It is being slowly discovered that they maintained, in their antiquity, a series of astral observatories all along the length of the eastern Rift Valley, through which they had mapped the visible universe, named stars and planets, and developed a calendar system that recycles itself every three hundred and sixty-five years.
Their other tools were a forked sighting staff, still carried by Oromo herdsman today, and the string of a series of lakes along the length of the valley floor that curiously, lie in the pattern of a star system above them.