Who are the Oromo People?
The Oromo people are the native inhabitants of Eastern Africa. Their population s estimated to be 40 million, which makes it the largest ethnic group in Eastern Africa. There are thousands of Oromo people living in diaspora, largely residing in are United States of America, Australia, Canada, Norway, England and Sweden.
Where is the Oromo land?
The land of the Oromo people is called Oromia. Oromia is bordered by Ogadenia and Somalia in the East, Kenya in the South, Gambella and Sudan in the West and Abyssinia in the North. The capital city of Oromia is Finfinnee “Addis Ababa”.
The Oromo people speak Afaan Oromo. They belong to the Cushitic-speaking group of Eastern Africa. The Oromo language is the 4th most spoken language in the continent of Africa.
The Oromo people practice three main religions Waaqeffannaa (Traditional Oromo beliefs), Islam and Christianity.
Since the late 19th century, the Oromo have been under colonization by the Abyssinian dictators. The Abyssinian dictators were assisted by European colonial powers with modern weaponry and had conducted massive murders of the Oromo people. During 1870 until 1900s the Oromo population was reduced from 10 to 5 million people.
The forced incorporation by Abyssinian dictators of Oromia, Abyssinia and other ethnic groups formed the present day ‘Ethiopian’ empire. The Oromo people resent identifying as Ethiopian, as this word has traumatic historical connotations for Oromo people.
Abyssinian attempts at Oromo ethnic cleansing have not been successful and motivated Oromo attempts to preserve the Oromo culture and language.
Notable Oromo revolutions include the Oromo Raayya revolt, the Caalanqo and Aanoole Wars, The Afran Qalloo movements in the 1960s. Other revolutionary Oromo groups and movements include the Maccaa Tuulama Association, the birth of the Oromo Liberation Front, the Oromo Student movements in 2005 and recently the Oromo Student Protests across many universities in Oromia.
The Oromo people refer to themselves as Oromo and their land as Oromia.
Historical and cultural information about Oromo people:
The Oromo people live by a democratic and egalitarian political system, called the Gadaa system. The Gadaa system consists of Gadaa grades, these grades have individual titles and responsibilities and are also grouped in 8 year periods. Each Gadaa title teaches the young male from birth to develop skills and knowledge about culture, governance, family values and leadership qualities. At the age of 40, Oromo men can be elected as Gadaa officials.
Like Oromo men, Oromo women have an incorporated institution. Siinqee is one of the pillars of Gadaa, an indigenous system of thought and practice which forms the foundations of Oromo society. As the bride steps out of the door of her mother’s house, she would be handed the Siinqee (a traditional and sacred Oromo stick) by her mother. She walks, imbued with the majesty of Siinqee, shoulder to shoulder with her bridegroom, who carries a spear. The role of Siinqee in Oromo society is to keep the peace and moral sanctity of the society. Warring groups would have to immediately halt their hostilities once the womenfolk wielding Siinqee appear on the battle scene. Most importantly, when in justice is committed, the women in the vicinity would come out in the the morning hours bearing their Siinqee and baring their hairs. According to Oromo custom, the testimony of a woman is not to be doubted. It takes only the testimony of a woman to convict a man. However, it would take the sworn testimony of three men to convict a man as guilty.
Coffee was first found in Oromia, in the city of Kaffa, South Western Oromia. Oromo people began using coffee for nutritional use in the beginning of the 5th century.
The Oromo people have some of the fastest athletes in the world. These athletes include Abbabba Biqilaa who ran barefoot at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Other famous Oromo athletes include Derartu Tulu, Fatuma Roba, Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and many others.
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