Boorana

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The Borana (Oromo: Borana) is one of the two major subgroups of the Oromo people. They live in the Borena Zone of the Oromia Region of Ethiopia and the former Northern Frontier District (now northern Kenya) of Northern Kenya.[2][8] They speak a dialect of Oromo.[8] The Borana people are notable for practicing Gadaa system without interruption.[9] Borana people don't name their children for up to three years.[10]

Borana
Borana Market (49151713417).jpg
Borana women at the market
Regions with significant populations
874,000 Ethiopia 276,236 Kenya[1]
Languages
Oromo[2]
Religion
Majority Sunni Islam with minorities of Christianity and Waaqeffanna[3][4][5][6]
Related ethnic groups
Barento Oromo[7]

Demography and languageEdit

 
Borana girls smiling in Borena zone, Oromia, Ethiopia

The Borana people, empowered by their Gadaa 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.[11]

The Borana speak Oromo, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic large languages family. In the border regions of Ethiopia-Kenya and southwestern Somalia, one estimate places about 1,094,000 people as Boranas.[12] Another estimate in 2019 suggests 874,000 Boranas in Ethiopia, 210,000 in Kenya and 10,000 in Somalia.[8] The Borana are the Cushites south west Horners of the Horn of Africa the Somali peninsula.[13]

SocietyEdit

GadaaEdit

The Borana people were traditionally a culturally homogeneous society with genealogical ties.[14] The Borana[8] 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 Gadaa system elected males from the five Borana 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.[14] Women and people belonging to the lower Borana castes were excluded.[15] Male born in the upper Borana society went through five stages of eight years, where his life established his role and status for consideration to a gadaa office.[14]

Under gadaa, every eight years, the Boran 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.[16]

Social stratificationEdit

Like other ethnic groups in the Horn of Africa and East Africa, Borana people regionally developed social stratification consisting of four hierarchical strata. The highest strata were the nobles called the Borana, below them were the Gabbaro (some 17th to 19th century Ethiopian texts refer them as the dhalatta). Below these two upper castes were the despised castes of artisans, and at the lowest level were the slaves.[17][18]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census Volume IV: Distribution of Population by Socio-Economic Characteristics". Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Oromo, Borana-Arsi-Guji (Ethnologue)
  3. ^ https://www.peoplegroups.org/Explore/groupdetails.aspx?peid=14769
  4. ^ 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia
  5. ^ Aguilar, Mario (1996). "The Eagle as Messenger, Pilgrim and Voice: Divinatory Processes among the Waso Boorana of Kenya". Journal of Religion in Africa. 26 (Fasc. 1): 56–72. doi:10.1163/157006696X00352. JSTOR 1581894.
  6. ^ The Oromo of East Africa, Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer, 1956), pages 171-190
  7. ^ Sarah Tishkoff; et al. (2009). "The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans" (PDF). Science. 324 (5930): 1035–44. Bibcode:2009Sci...324.1035T. doi:10.1126/science.1172257. PMC 2947357. PMID 19407144. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  8. ^ a b c d Steven L. Danver (2015). Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues. Routledge. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-1-317-46400-6.
  9. ^ "Borana in Ethiopa".
  10. ^ "Why Borana people don't name their children for up to three years".
  11. ^ Asafa Jalata (2010), Borana Peoplehood: Historical and Cultural Overview, Sociology, University of Tennessee Press, pages 5, 11-12
  12. ^ Appiah & Gates 2010, p. 196.
  13. ^ Cossins, Noel J., and Martin Upton. "The Borana pastoral system of southern Ethiopia." Agricultural Systems 25.3 (1987): 199-218.
  14. ^ a b c Tesema Ta'a (2006). The Political Economy of an African Society in Transformation: the Case of Macca Oromo (Ethiopia). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-3-447-05419-5.
  15. ^ Paul Trevor William Baxter; Jan Hultin; Alessandro Triulzi (1996). Being and Becoming Oromo: Historical and Anthropological Enquiries. Nordic Africa Institute. pp. 252–253. ISBN 978-91-7106-379-3., Quote: "gadaa government was a preclass institution based on democratic principles even though it did exclude caste groups such as smiths and tanners, and women (...)".
  16. ^ Tesema Ta'a (2006). The Political Economy of an African Society in Transformation: the Case of Macca Oromo (Ethiopia). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-3-447-05419-5.
  17. ^ J. Abbink (1985), Review: Oromo Religion. Myths and Rites of the Western Oromo of Ethiopia by Lambert Bartels, Journal: Anthropos, Bd. 80, H. 1./3. (1985), pages 285-287
  18. ^ Paul Trevor William Baxter; Jan Hultin; Alessandro Triulzi (1996). Being and Becoming Oromo: Historical and Anthropological Enquiries. Nordic Africa Institute. pp. 254–256. ISBN 978-91-7106-379-3.

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Asmarom Legesse. Gada Three Approaches to the Study of African Society. The Free Press A Division of McMillan Co. Inc, 1973
  • Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford, Some records of Ethiopia Hakluyt Society, 1954
  • Bassi Marco, Decisions in the Shade. Political and juridical processes among the Oromo-Borana Red Sea Press, 2005
  • Clifford H F Plowman CMG OBE, Notes On The Gedamoch Ceremonies Among The Boran, Journal of the Royal African Society, Vol. 18, No. 70 (Jan 1919), pp. 114-121