Thursday, March 31, 2011

Introducing: World Wednesday

As some of you may know, my educational background is in social and cultural anthropology. So, in an attempt to keep that part of my brain alive, and of course for your education,i would like to introduce 'World Wednesday'. Every Wednesday i will write about different peoples of the world. This week, we will of course start close to home... so... without further ado, please meet:

                          The Boran
 The Borana are nomadic pasturalists (although increasingly not nomadic), who belong to the Oromo peoples. They live in the arid areas of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, and depend largely on their livestock for survival.

  Their particular breed of cows, which is the most common livestock (although since the drought has been very bad the last few years, there has been the introduction of camels), is called the 'boran breed' and is particularly suited to the arid landscape.
Anthropological studies of the Boran have been very interested in their being pasturalists, and nomads, or the combination of the two, but of special interest has been the 'Gada' or the borana system of Governance.
According to Dr. Ibrahim A. Elemo, who wrote 'The Life of Borana Oromo Gada Councilors: The Legacy of the Late Abba Gadaa Hiddoo Galgaloo'  'the Gada is made up of three assemblies of active leaders and their immediate family members called Ya’aa. These three assemblies have to undertake ritual migrations throughout the Borana land during their period of administration'. 
   As Galgalo Boru Galma, writes in the very informative essay on Boran culture: 'The Gada system is a system of generation classes that succeed each other every eight years in assuming political, military, judicial, legislative and ritual responsibilities. Each one of the eight active generation classes- beyond the three grades- has its own internal leadership (Adula hayyus) and its own assembly (ya’a), but the leaders of the class become the leaders of the nation as a whole when their class comes to power in the middle of the life course- a stage of life called “gada” among the Borana. The class in power is headed by an officer known as Abba Gada or Abba Bokku in different part of the Oromo nation.'(see full article here)
Here are two great videos(big up achacho), which give a real sense of the cultural values, and a look at the day to day life (although they were done in the 70's, so much has changed since then).

last but not least, here are a list of great links on articles, photos and essays.... 
~From water to world-making

Please excuse my fumbling a bit, it's been so so long since i wrote anything about/for anthropological and it will take me a little while to warm up again. hope you enjoyed it!

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