Gadaa Research Centre


The Gadaa Research Centre is an interdisciplinary research and advocacy program, hosted by the Advocacy for Oromia  within the club of research and knowledge advancement. It is created to organise and coordinate research activity of the organisation.

The Two Historic Events of Gada System: Dismemberment and Renaissance

According to Gadaa chronology, there are two major historic events. These are: the decentralisation or dismemberment of Gadaa (Chinna Gadaa) and the renaissance of Gadaa (Haromsa Gadaa). The former designates the condition when the centralised sytem of Gadaa under Oda Nabe was decentralised to the extent that each Oromo clan
were left to be administered by clan assemblies traditionally known as Chaffe (general assembly).
It would be appropriate to question the factor(s) for the dismemberment of Gadaa. In this regard, the argument is that the Gadaa System was under threat from external forces from the pre-medieval period. The first potential threat, which the oral tradition maintains up to date, was the case of the expansion of Islam and Christian kingdom in
Ethiopia. Though it is not crystal clear as to the effect of this threat, some argue that the long conflict between the Christian kingdom and Muslim sultanates (from 14th century) on the land of the Oromo people had created instability in the region and necessitated for the dismemberment of the Gadaa system that ultimately resulted in dismemberment (Chinna) Gadaa. Moreover, the oral tradition maintains that the assassination of the religious leader (Qallu) known as Oditu Qallu had also accelerated the problem (ibid:56).

PDF Gadaa thesis


In Oromo society, guddifachaa practice has a long history and started during the time of Gada1 system commencement. According to four informants (Abbaa gadaas or gada experts, leaders), they celebrated the 70th gada with their gadaa grades in 2000 which is estimated to be 560 years. Six of the informants (five Abbaa gadaas and one community member) claimed that the gada system and the guddifachaa practices as an institution started together 2000 years ago. They report 360 gada stages or 2880 years in Oromo. There are no anthropological and historical research accounts that confirm this notion in the country and for the Oromo society in specific.

In Ethiopia, the term guddifachaa as a form of adoption was inherited from the Oromo language. It means adopting a child by fulfilling all the economic, psychological and social rights of a family member. The term was unanimously approved and incorporated in to the civil law at the parliament session that convened to promulgate the civil code as part of the modern legal system of Ethiopian empire in 1960 (Civil code, 1965; MOLSA, 1991).

In Oromo customary law, guddifachaa is a system of moving a child from his/her biological parents to another of the community’s social family members through ceremonial rituals of the guddifachaa institution. The systems created with such
customary procedures are irrevocable by the parties concerned or any other third party. The guddifachaa child has all the rights with regard to status, marriage, inheritances, and maintenance (Taka, 1983).

For more reading: Guddifachaa-Oromo

Sirna Gadaa Oromoo Karrayyu- Gadaa System Among The Karrayyu Oromos


Japanese Dr Lookoo Duuba Her Adopted Oromo Name on the Gadaa System Bushooftuu, Oromiyaa 2013

Sirna Gadaa Oromoo Arsii

  1. Gaafii wahiitu mataa keessa na dhufee na dhibe. namni deebii kana beektan anaa fi nama biraafis ni fayyada ibsa naa godhaa.

    Akka dhagayetti maddi walaabuu madda oromooti yoo jedhan dhagaya. Gara biraatiin ammoo booranni hangafa oromooti jedhamama. Haala qubsumaa yoo laalan akka natti fakkaatutti naannoo maddawalaabuu ka qubataa ture oromoo arsiiti. Soo dubbii kana naa ibsaa

    Gaafii biraa
    Hangafa jechuun “ka jalaqabaa jechuu”.
    Akkas yoo tahe namni oromoo jalqabaa sun saba biraarraa dhalatee maqaan oromoo jedhamu kennameef moo akkam.
    San rabbitu beeka jedhee irra tara moo; deebiin isin qabdan jira?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: