Oromo Tribe Description
The Borana Oromo people, also called the Boran, are a sub-ethnic section of the Oromo people, who live in southern Ethiopia (Oromia) and northern Kenya. They speak a dialect of the Oromo language, that is distinct enough that it is difficult for other Oromo speakers to understand. The Borana people are notable for their historic Gadda political system. They follow their traditional religions or (Ethiopian Orthodox) Christianity Islam.
Demography and language
Borana Oromo are found in western, central and southern provinces of Ethiopia.
Between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, the Oromo people had differentiated into two major confederation of pastoral tribes: the Borana and the Barentu, and several minor ones. The Barentu people thereafter expanded to the eastern regions now called Hararghe, Arsi, Wello and northeastern Shawa. The Borana people, empowered by their Gadda political and military organization expanded in the other directions, regions now called western Shawa, Welega, Illubabor, Kaffa, Gamu Goffa, Sidamo and thereafter into what is now northern Kenya regions. The Borana further subdivided into various subgroups such as Macha, Tulama, Sadacha and others.
The Borana speak Borana (or afaan Booranaa), a dialect of Oromo language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. In the border regions of Ethiopia-Kenya and southwestern Somalia, one estimate places about 220,000 people as Boranas. Another estimate in 2011, suggests 177,000 Boranas in Ethiopia and 95,000 in Kenya.
The Borana, Gabbra and Sakuye peoples are sub-ethnic groups within the Oromo people group, and share language and culture. Some groups from the Oromo people from southern Ethiopia entered northern Kenya fduring the 16th century. These Borana groups then differentiated into the cattle-keeping, while the Gabbra and Sakuye specialized in camel-keeping. They lived together, each with different pastoral focus. As competition for grazing lands and resources increased, conflicts emerged.
The Oromo people were traditionally a culturally homogeneous society with genealogical ties. The Borana and other Oromo communities governed themselves in accordance with Gadaa (literally “era”), a limited democratic socio-political system long before the 16th century, when major three party wars commenced between them and the Christian kingdom to their north and Islamic sultanates to their east and south. The Gadda system elected males from five Oromo miseensa (groups), for a period of eight years, for various judicial, political, ritual and religious roles. Retirement was compulsory after the eight year term, and each major clan followed the same Gadaa system. Women and people belonging to the lower Oromo castes were excluded. Male born in the upper Oromo society went through five stages of eight years, where his life established his role and status for consideration to a Gadaa office.
Under Gadaa, every eight years, the Oromo would choose by consensus an Abbaa Bokkuu responsible for justice, peace, judicial and ritual processes, an Abbaa Duulaa responsible as the war leader, an Abbaa Sa’aa responsible as the leader for cows, and other positions.
The Oromo society is divided ito age sets which forms a major part of its social social stratification system. They have age sets that are based in an eight-year cycle that is commonly referred to as Gadaa.Over the years the social stratification system has undergone some notable changes such as election of leaders to head the popular assembly after every eight years by establishing laws to guide the community.
Despite the presence of modern social and leadership structures the Gadaa system is still very popular. They practice a rite of passage where the entire community gathers to watch young men as they run on top of bulls while the village community surrounds the young men as they cheer them up.
Oromo Tribe Video
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