About Omo-Valley Tribes
The Dorze tribe: - A rich weaving tradition
They are one of the small segments of the great Omotic language group of southern Ethiopia. Once warriors, they now earn their living by farming and weaving. The Dorze name is synonymous with the best in woven cotton cloth and the tall-up bee-hive shaped bamboo house. There is quite a big Dorze community living and weaving on the northern part of Addis, on the way to Entoto. These peoples rarely use the administrative and police force of the city. They settle all disputes in their usual cultural way, through their elders.
Konso: - People of Wooden-totem
About 960 miles south west of Addis Ababa lies the widely cultivated Konso land that is embraced by Precambrian serpentines and granites. The Konso peoples speak eastern Cushitic language and are agriculturalists and weavers. These peoples are cryptic beyond visitors' imagination which is demonstrated in the distinctive idealization of the figures and heroic lives of their deceased symbolized with wooden totem.
Hamar & Benna: - the Bull-Jumping people
Inscribed in the far South West Omotic region, beyond Mount Buska live the Hamar and Benna people. These astounding and superstitious people, were veiled in mystery for over half a century. The Hamar and Benna, are two of the Omotic speakers of remote south west Ethiopia, with unique manifestations of traditional wisdom, the 'jumping of bulls'. The purpose of this rite is two fold: while one is the passage from boyhood to adulthood, the other is the courting occasion when both men and women adorn themselves to win a mate. The men put an ochre buns on their skin and head and insert ostrich feather, while the women wear their hair in short tufts rolled in ochre mixed with fat.
Mursi & Surma: - people of labial and lobular plates
In the remote wilderness of the south west Ethiopia live the Mursi & Surma. These peoples were completely forgotten by Ethiopia and the outside world at large, and they on their part had no notion of the outside world including Ethiopia until the seventies. The peoples of this savannah and mountainous land have such extensive cultural features that never ceases to amaze visitors. While the women show their beauty and endurance by the ear lobes and the piercing of the lips, the men demonstrate their courage and stamina in the stick fighting ceremony.
The Karo tribes: - people of chalk painted bodies
The Karo tribe residing along the borders of the Lower Omo River incorporates rich, cultural symbolism into their rituals by using ornate body art, intricate headdresses, and significance within their community. The most important ceremony in the life of a Karo is the Pilla, or jumping over a group of oxen. This ritual marks the passage from adolescence to adulthood. The ceremony is similar to that of the Hamar, however the Karo only have four chances to jump over the oxen without falling.
The Dassanetch: - people of circumcision
They speak a completely different language and are actually the Cushitic speaking group of the Omo Valley. The most important ritual of the Dassanetch is the so-called dime. In theory, only a man who has had a daughter can be circumcised, although in practice, circumcision is carried out on the entire age-group. The daughter is most important in the dime ceremony. After the ceremony, which takes six weeks, the participants are upgraded to 'great men', or those that may engage in politics. The dime ritual is directly connected to the upcoming marriage of the daughter when large quantities of cattle are slaughtered for the occasion.