5 Fascinating Facts About The Oromo Language and Culture

By Maia Nikitina

Oromo, also known as Afaan Oromoo, and Oromiffa, is a language from the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, and the third most widely spoken language in Africa, after Arabic and Hausa. The Oromo people are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. They are an indigenous African people who have maintained their cultural identity and language despite the Oromo language being forbidden for much of the 20th century. Most Oromos live in the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and Somalia), Kenia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, as well as in the Oromo Diaspora abroad.

  1. The Oromo Written Language Is One Of The Youngest In The World

The Oromo language was banned in Ethiopia for many years, forbidden from being used in schools and in the public sphere. In 1991, the language was allowed again. In the early 1970s, the Oromo Liberation Front decided on the Latin alphabet as the official script for the Oromo language. It is also sometimes written with the Arabic script, as well as the Ge’ez script and the Shaykh Bakri Sapalo orthography. The Oromo writing system based on the Roman alphabet is called Qubee. Due to the political situation that affected the Oromo language for a long time, it is one of the youngest languages in the world to become a written language.

Speakers of all variations of Oromo can easily understand each other, although the relatively late development of the writing system means that there are some differences in written dialects as the writing system is not fully standardised across all of the Oromo language.

  1. Oromian Literature Was Mostly Oral Until 1970s

The Oromos have a rich oral literary tradition which is expressed through various songs for all life eventualities, as well as poems, proverbs, and storytelling.

Since being allowed again, the language has experienced a literary revival, with popular plays, novels, and short stories published in the Oromo language. Dhaabaa Wayyessaa’s play Dukanaan Duuba (Beyond the Darkness), propelled the playwright and novelist to national fame in the early 1990’s. Another good example of Oromo’s development as a literary language is Gaaddisaa Birru’s novel Kuusaa Gaddoo.

  1. The Oromo People Created One Of The Earliest Democracies

The traditional Oromo society is structured according to the Gadaa system, also spelled as Gada. The system is considered to be one of the earliest democratic societies in the world and is based on an 8-yearly election of all political, military, economic, religious, and social administration.

The society has five classes with one fulfilling the function of the ruling class; this changes every 8 years. Each class progresses through a number of grades before it can participate in authority.

A Gadaa election is preceded by a campaign. One of the basic rules of the Gadaa is that a father and his son are always exactly five grades apart, which is always forty years. This means that the Gadaa class incorporates people of various ages.

  1. Most Oromos Live In Rural Areas

Around 90 percent of Oromia’s population are employed in agriculture, producing coffee, pulses, oil, and animal products such as hides and skins.

  1. The Irreechaa Ceremony Is Oromo Thanksgiving

Each September, millions of the Oromo people gather on the shores of Hora Harsade (Lake Harsadi or Arsadi) for the Irreechea Ceremony. The meaning of the ceremony is to give thanks and to pray to Waaqa (God).

Many Oromo people practise monotheism, and the Irreechaa ritual ceremony is believed to be one of the oldest forms of monotheism in Africa.

There are two types of the Irreechaa ceremonies: Irreechaa Tulluu (Irreecha on a mountain) and Irreechaa Malkaa (Irreechaa on a river). Irreechaa Tulluu is practised on top of mountains and hills during dry season. It is usually performed in March. Irreechaa Malkaa is celebrated either near a local body of water or at Lake Arsadi in Bishoftu which is located about 45 km from the capital of Oromia, Finfinnee.

“What did OLF do in the past several decades?”


By Giftii Wako 

The question that is becoming popular these days. For some it is pure ignorance and for others it is a way of discrediting the accomplishments thus far. I felt it was necessary to reflect, assess, and share.

You know how modest some of us are in terms of explaining our professional/personal achievements and take them for granted? The same goes with OLF! Let’s not be modest with this one! Time to reflect and celebrate the successes including the major milestones of this great organization that most of us proudly associate ourselves with and is a symbol of our eenyummaa!

The information below was gathered though an informal chat and text exchanges with a few individuals.

  • The people who created OLF were the ones who led the movement that toppled Haile Selassie (1974). These same people drafted the historical land reform declaration that gave the land back to Oromo farmers.
  • Before OLF was created, Oromo people were referred to as Gallas. It was through undying devotion and the sacrifice OLF paid that our people proudly started calling themselves Oromo or Oromoota (plural). It took years to educate them self-determination and convince Oromos to call themselves Oromo rather than Galla, an abusive slur used mostly by Amharas. Galla was a derogatory term used to refer to pagan, savage, uncivilized, uncultured, enemy, slave or inherently inferior (Melbaa,1999).
  • OLF created the current federal system and the constitution that gave the Oromiyaa statehood that we are all proud of today. The map of Oromiyaa that we see today was possible through this constitution.
  • OLF enabled the Oromo language to become one of the widely spoken languages in the horn of Africa.
  • Qubee became an Oromo alphabet and is widely and effectively used today. The new generation can speak in Afaan Oromoo in Oromiyaa regions and can read and write in Qubee.
  • Our flag, the symbol of our identity and the emblem of our struggle, became extremely popular and the people proudly associate themselves to it. OLF played a significant role in making this happen regardless of all the resistance from every corner in the country.
  • It is by the sacrifice of our OLF heroes and heroines that the name Oromo became known on the world stage.
  • OLF played pivotal role in reviving Oromo culture/heritage including Oromo music and art.
  • OLF made Oromos to be known to the rest of the world via Oromo study journals and OSA, “The Oromo Studies Association is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary organization established to promote and foster scholarly studies in all fields pertaining to the Oromo people.” (OSA, 2019)
  • OLF challenged fake Ethiopiawinet narratives which were built for decades.
  • OLF drafted education curriculum in Afaan Oromoo in Oromiyaa region.
  • Oromiyaa National Anthem was created by OLF.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress”



Maal Nuu Wayya

Kumkumme sirbaatiin

Baatii Sadaasa 2019 keessa Oromiyaa deemee baatii tokko tureen deebi’e. Bara 2018 yeroo hogganni ABO biyyatti deebi’u waliin eemalee, Dhiha Oromiyaa naannoo tokko tokko daawwadheen ture. Deemsa koo yeroo ammaa fi isa bara dabree wal bira qabee haala jiru xiinxaluu yaaleen jira. Wanneen gurguddaan shan argeen jira:
1. Mirqaannii fi abdiin bara 2018 ture sun bakkaa ka’ee jira.
2. Oromoon yaadaan burjaaja’ee (confused) ta’ee jira.
3. Gartuun Lammaa ykn Lammaa Team jedhamu diigameera.
4. Mootummaan aangoo irra jiru farra Oromoo taheera.
5. Dr Abiyi Ahmed ifaa ifatti ilmaan Nafxanyaan dhuunfatamee jira. Mee isaan kana tokko tokkon haa ilaallu.

Akka mootummaan Wayyaanee bakkaa ka’een abdii fi hawwiin ture mootummaa miidhaa fi cunqursaa ture akka hin deebinetti kaasuu tu dhalata, dimokraasii dhugaatu bakka qabata, Oromoon lammata hin miidhamu kan jedhu hawwii ture. Karaa nagaan siyaasaa gaggeessuun ni danda’ama kan jedhutu abdatamaa ture. Sun waggaa tokko keessatti dhabamee jira. Abdiin duraan ture amma hin jiru. Sirna bulchiinsa biyyichaa isa bara Wayyaanee otoo hin taane kan bara mootii moototaa Hayile Sillaasee fi Miniliktti deebisuun MM Dr Abiy marxifatee hojjataa jira. Oromoo kan ati hawwaa turte bakka hin jiru, buttuun ykn cululleen fudhateetti. Mudhii kee jabeeffadhu.

Oromoon yaadaan burjaaja’uun hubadhee jira. Mootummaan aangoo irra jiru kan Oromoo ti warri jedhan amma iyyu jiru. Oromoo inni kaan ammoo mootummaan kun miidhaa nurraa gahaa jira keenya miti jedhaa jira. Akka sabaatti mootummaa kana irratti Oromoon ejjennoo tokko irra gahee hin jiru. Dhaaboti siyaasaa Oromoos mootummaa farra Oromoo tahe kana irratti ejjennoo cimaan gad bahanii dubbachuu haala isaan dandeessisu keessa hin jiran. Waraana Bilisummaa Oromoo didee bosonatti hafe iyyuu galchuu dhaaf tattaaffiin godhamu hin dhaabbanne. Dhaaboti siyaasaa Oromoo filmaata tarii godhamu maluuf of qopheessuu irratti humnaa fi qabeenya isaanii dhangalaasaa jiru. Kanaaf yaadi Oromoo burjaaja’ee jira

Sochiin diddaa gabrummaa ummatni Oromoo, Qeerroo fi Qarreen durfamee mootummaa Wayyaanee irratti gaggeese, wareegama ulfaataa booda, mooraa EPRDF keessaa gartuu Lammaa jedhamu as baase. Gartuun kunis akka as baheen gooftaan keenya ummata keenya jedhee aantummaa ummataa qabaachuu isaa labse. Ummatni Oromoo shakkii qabuu wajjin Team Lammaa kanatti imaanaa kenne. Gartuun kun gaaffii siyaasaa ummatni Oromoo qabu fiixa baasee injifannoon xumura jedhamee abdatame. Gartuun Lammaa kun yeroo jalqabaa waan aantummaa ummata Oromoo qabu of fakkeessuun yaalii godheen yaada ummata Oromoo hatuu danda’ee ture. Akka buleen garuu mootummaan maqaa Oromoo qabu jedhamu farra ummata Oromoo tahuu isaa of saaxilaa dhufe. Garee Lammaa keessa sabboontota jiran Obbo Lammaa dabalatee bakkaa kaasuu dhaan moggeessee tapha siyaasaa ala godhuun garee ykn Team Lammaa kana diige. Kan kana godhe ammoo Dr Abiy dha. Har’a gareen Lammaa kan ummatni Oromoo imaanaa itti kennate hin jiru, diigameera.

Mootummaan Itophiyaa har’a jiru farra ummata Oromoo ti. Kun mootummaa Federaalaa fi Naannoo Oromiyaa dabalata. Waan gara biraa dhiifnee kan barattoota Oromoo university naannoo Amaaraa keessa jiran irratti raawatamaa jiru ilaaluun ni gaha. Barattooti Oromoo naannoo Amaaraatti ramadaman guyyuu du’aa yeroo jiran mootummaa Federaalaa seeraa fi sirna eegisuu irra jiru, mootummaan naannoo Oromiyaa ammoo lammii isaa miidhaman bira dhaabbatee nageenya isaaniif wabii ta’uun irra eegamu homaa godhaa hin jiran. Mootummaan Naannoo Amaaraa barattoota isaa Oromiyaa keessa jiran fe’atee yeroo fudhatu, kan Oromiyaa garuu homaa godhaa hin jiru. Tarkaanfii fudhachuu dhiisuun MNO kun akka Oromoon mootummaa isaaf dhaabbatu, falmu, wabii tahuuf hin qabne mirkaneessa.

Bulchitoota biyya Itophiyaa qabatan keessaa kan akka Dr. Abiyi Oromoo afaanfajjeessee fi dogoggorse jira hin fakkaatu. Bara Dargii Tafarii Bantii yeroo aangoo irra ture Oromoo nama keenya jedhee of hin daganne. Bara Wayyaanee Dr. Nagaasoon Prezidaantii dha jedhee of hin daganne. Bara ammaa kana garuu Oromoon gareen aangoo of harkaa qabu kan keenya jedhee garaa hiruun mul’atee jira. Dogoggora guddaa dha. Dr. Abiy nama gaararraa, gamaa fi gamana fakkaatu dha. Yeroo Oromoo bira dhaqu, “isin naaf hin hubannee, an malaan Oromoof hojjadhaan jira” jedha. Warra habashaa bira dhaqee ammoo an “ Itophiyaa ishee durii deebisuuf hojjadha” jedha. Gidduu lamaan fiigaa turee ‘Andinati Park’ waan jedhamu oggaa tolchu Minilik nama Oromoon farda isaa Goorgis biratti arguu jibbu, bifa haaraan tolche gad nuu baase. Nafxanyaan dhuunfatamuu isaa mallattoo isa jalqabaa ture.

Otooo kun sammuu ummata Oromoo jeeqaa jiruu, paartii haaraa PP jedhamu tolche jedhee labse. Dhibdee fi shakkii kan uume Partii haaraa tolchuu osoo hin taane akeekaa fi sagantaa paartiin kun lafa kaawwatee dha. PP n kan dhaabbatee maqaa sabootaan dhaabbileen ijaaraman diigamanii, sabaan of ijaaruu, naannoon sabaan of bulchan hafee Itophiyaan ishee dullatti durii deebisanii lubbuu itti horuuf kan akeekkatee dha. Akeeki kun ammaa hawwii fi fedhii ilmaan Nafxanyootaa ti. Oromoo! nama siidaa Minilik ijaaruu irraa waanti ati eegdu hin jiru. Kanaaf Dr. Abiyi ilmaan Nafxanyaan dhuunfatameera, Oromoo abdii kutadhu kan jennuuf.

Ganama Warra Amaaraan Maaltu Deemaa jira?

Warri Amaaraa ifaa ifatti Itophiyaa nutu bulchuu qaba, olaantummaan Amaaraa deebi’uu qaba jedhanii labsaa jiru. As irratti Itophiyummaa fi Amaarummaan wal maka. Nafxanyooti Oromiyaa fi kibba keessa jiran maqaa EZMA fi ABN jedhamuun of haa gurmeessan malee akeeki isaanii Itophiyaa ishee durii deebisuu dha. Isheen durii sun ammoo kan Amaarri olaantummaa itti qabu, kan Afaan Amaaraa kan mootummaa fi barnootaa tahu, amantiin ammoo Ortodoksii duwwaa tahu dha. Sochiin sabooti mirga isaanii kabajchiifachuuf godhan waan isaan yaaddesseef, biyyuma Amaaraa keessatti sochiin saba Agawu fi Qimaant waan itti dhoheef dhabamuu keenya waan jedhu irraa sochii ijibbaataa godhaa jiru. Amaara bakka jirutti hidhachiisaa fi ijaaraa jiru. Meeshaan lolaa hagana hin jedhamne Oromiyaa seenee fi seenaa jira. Oromoo humnaan cabsinee of jelatti bulchina jedhanii abjootaa jiru. Sagantaa bal’aa yeroo dheeraa fi gabaabaa baafatanii sochii eegalanii jiru. Oromootti haablee qarataa jiru. Yoo sagantaa isaanii milkaaweef Oromo fi Oromiyaa irratti balaa guddaatu as deemaa jira. Waan eessa geessi jedhanii tuffatanii bira dabran utuu hin taane Oromoon of ittisuuf ammaa irraa marii jalqabuu qaba.

Egaa Oromoof Maaltu Wayya?

Mee dhugaa tokko waliif haa himnu. Oromoon yeroo ammaa dhaaba balaa isatti gaggaammatame irraa ittisuuf ifa bahee qabsoo godhu, hoggana kennu hin qabu. Maaliif kana jetta jechuu dandeessu. Mootummaan amma aangoo irra jiru dhaabota mormitoota tahan hundaa kottaa galaa karaa nagaa qabsoo siyaasaa gaggeessaa jedhee biyyatti galchee tohannoo isaa jalatti dhuunfatee jira. Sochiin dhaaboti maqaa Oromoo godhan mootummaa Itophiyaan tohatamaa jira. Akka isaan achi hin fagaanne horii haga tokko itti kennee, garii ammoo boordii filannoo beekumsa kenneefii akka haala jiru irratti hin xiyyeeffanne godhee jira. Akkasumas Qeerroo fi Qarreen burjaajii fi dawwaawu keessa jiran. Mootummaan Dr. Abiy qabsoo Oromoo qabbaneessuuf shaaxira hojjataa ture amma harkatti dhumataa jira. Garuu Qeerroo fi Qarreen kanati bayyanatii haga qabsoo isaanii fininsatti yeroo haga tokko ni fudhata taha. Oromoon balaa isatti aggaamamee jiru hubatee dafee maarshii isaa geeddaruu, afaan mi’aawuu MM sobamuu dhiisee qabsoo isaa hatattamaan itti fufun furmaata ni fida.

Dhaaboti siyaasaa Oromoo filannoo ni godhama jedhamutti of dagatanii qabsoo gosa kaan dagachuu hin qaban. Filannoon ni godhama jedhamaa jirus walabaa fi haqa ni taha jedhanii eeguun of gowwomsuu dha. Filannoof of qopheessuun itti fufu illee shira mootummaan godhuuf malu yaadaan qabuun barbaachisaa dha. Shira paartii haaraa PP jedhamu dura dhaabbachuuf dhaaboti siyaasaa Oromoo walii isaanii giddutti tokkummaa qabaachuun filmaata kan hin qabnee dha. Mata mataatti dorgomnee mo’anna kan jedhu tasa kan hin baafne tahuun hubatamee akkaataa waloon dura dorgomamu irratti hatattamaan wal hubannoo irra gahuun barbaachisaa dha. Balaa humnaan Oromoo miidhuuf warri Amaaraa sagantaa qopheeffataa jiran dura dhaabbachuuf akka Oromummaatti, akka qaama tokkootti, of gurmeessuu, wal hidhachiisuu, wal leenjisuu fi hoggana sadarkaa sadarkaan tolchuun fardii dha.


Garrii mootummaan Dr. Abiy itti deemaa jiru faallaa waan Oromoon qabsoo godhee kumaan itti wareegamee ti. Daran iyyuu isa bara Wayyaanee fi Dargii bira taree kan bulchiinsa Minilik fi Hayile Sillaasee deebisuuf mallattoo agarsiisaa jira. Dr. Abiy sabboonummaa Oromummaa copha tokko illee hin qabu. Inni nafxanyaan dhuunfatamee farra Oromoo ta’ee jira. Isa inni gad bahee afaan Oromoon jechoota tokko tokko darbatuun gowwomuu hin qabnu. Oromoon waan irraa eeggatu hin jiru. Qabsoon Bilisummaa Oromoo hoggansa dhabee afaanfajjii keessa jira. Har’a ifa bahee dhaaba mootummaa Dr. Abiy irratti kan qabsoo godhu Oromoo barbaachisa. Dhaaboti siyaasaa Oromoo biyya keessatti karaa nagaa siyaasaa irraa hirmaataa jiran kana godhuu hin danda’an. Kana beekuun Oromoo akkuma mootummaa Wayyaanee diddaa isaan hundeedhaan buqqise, mootummaa kanas bakkaa kaasuuf har’a-bor osoo hin jenne qabsoo isaa finiinsuun irraa eegama.

Horaa Bulaa
Injifannoon Ummata Oromoof
Kumkummee Sirbaa