Title: Being in and out of Africa: The Impact of Duality of Ethiopianism
Author: Asafa Jalata (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
Published: Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 40, No. 2 (2009), pp. 189-214 | On April 29, 2015, a version of this paper was presented as a seminar at the University of Botswana.
Keywords: Ethiopianism, racism, colonialism, Abyssinia, Ethiopia, Oromo, Habashas (Amhara-Tigray), Africanness, Blackness, state terrorism, Afrocentricity, Oromummaa (culture identity nationalism), self-determination, multinational democracy
This article critically examines how the duality inherent in the concept of Ethiopianism shifts back and forth between claims of a “Semitic” identity when appealing to the White, Christian, ethnocentric, occidental hegemonic power center and claims of an African identity when cultivating the support of sub-Saharan Africans and the African diaspora while, at the same time, ruthlessly suppressing the history and culture of non-Semitic Africans of the various colonized peoples, such as Oromos. Successive Ethiopian state elites have used their Blackness to mobilize other Africans and the African diaspora for their political projects by confusing original Africa, Ethiopia, or the Black world with contemporary Ethiopia (former Abyssinia) and at the same time have allied with Euro-American powers and practiced racism, state terrorism, genocide, and continued subjugation on the indigenous Africans who are, today, struggling for self-determination and multinational democracy. Exposing the racist discourse of Ethiopianism and liberating the mentality of all Africans and the African diaspora from this “social cancer” must be one of the tasks of a critical paradigm of Afrocentricity. Developing Oromummaa (Oromo culture, identity, and nationalism), the Oromo national movement engages in such a liberation project.
Title: Onesimos Nasib’s pioneering contributions to Oromo writing
Author: Mekuria Bulcha (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Published: Nordic Journal of African Studies Vol. 4, No. 1, 1995, pp. 36-59
Keywords: Onesimos Nasib, Afan Oromo
Linguists tell us that the Oromo language also referred to as afaan Oromoo or Oromiffaa with its more than 20 million speakers is the second most widely spread indigenous language in Africa. More than two-thirds of the speakers of the Cushitic languages are Oromo or speak afaan Oromoo, which is also the third largest Afro-Asiatic language in the world (Gragg 1982). In spite of its importance as a vernacular widely spoken in the Horn of Africa afaan Oromoo lacks today a developed literature. Both the cultural history of the Oromo people and the language policy of the Ethiopian government were suggested to be responsible for this state of affairs.
In this paper I maintain that, although some basic literature existed in afaan Oromoo for the last 100 years, as the Oromo were colonized, they were (and still are) not given the chance to build on the literary foundations that were laid down during the last two decades of the 19th century.
To illustrate my argument, I describe Onesimos Nasib’s contribution to Oromo literature, and the efforts he made to spread literacy and modern education in Oromoland at the beginning of this century. I discuss also, albeit briefly, the reactions that the works of Onesimos aroused among the Abyssinian nobility and clergy and the resultant language policy that suppressed development of literacy in afaan Oromoo and the other Cushitic and Omotic languages. The approach in this paper is socio-historical as well as socio-linguistic.
Title: Ethiopian Language Policy and Health Promotion in Oromia
Author: Begna F. Dugassa (Toronto Public Health, Toronto, Canada)
Published: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare Vol.1, No.2, 2011, pp. 55-64
Keywords: public health, Ethiopia, health policy, health education, Oromia, colonial language policies
In the time of HIV/AIDS, epidemics for which we have no vaccination or cure, public health is bound entirely to depend on the traditional health education strategies to stop or contain this disease. This reality demands that we travel extra miles and thoroughly employ every health promotion tool at our disposal. The Ottawa Charter for health promotion stressed the need for public policy to create supportive social conditions for health. This necessitates a commitment to enduring social conditions for health and raises topics that have been neglected by the traditional public health scholars. A close examination of the colonial language policy of Ethiopia reveals that language is not value free and is intermingled with power and has significant public health impacts. In this paper, I critically examine Ethiopian language policy within the framework of health promotion and demonstrate the ways in which such policy creates a barrier for the Oromo people in making life choices. Additionally it hinders them from ensuring the conditions in which they can be healthy. This paper addresses a gap in the research literature on the impacts of colonial language policies on health promotion.
Title: Naming a Borana
Author: Gudrun Dahl (Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology)
Published: KVHAA Konferenser, No. 42 (1998), pp. 331-336 – Stockholm: Published contributions to the symposium on Personhood and Social Identity in Stora Brännbo, Sigtuna
Keywords: Borana, Social Anthropology
The present article is an attempt to tentatively discuss certain aspects relating Boran ideas about names to their conceptions of human ontology, especially of how time influences human life. Their basic idea seems to be that, since human personality reflects such influences, the name given to a person should reflect the conditions of his or her birth. As I will try to illustrate, this idea is elaborated to different degrees depending on whether we are talking about everyday naming practice or the name of children destined to become ritually central personalities. Furthermore, I will indicate the ideological importance of naming, name-giving and linguistic acts as male acts of social creativity within Boran society.
Title: The politics of language and representative bureaucracy in Ethiopia: the case of Federal Government
Author: Milkessa Midega (Dire Dawa University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia)
Published: Journal of Public Administration and Policy Research, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2015), pp. 15-23.
Keywords: Federal bureaucracy, official working language, representation
Building an inclusively representative and equitable bureaucracies in a multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicultural polity is a challenging phenomenon. Being on of such polities, Ethiopia embarked upon multinational federal nation-building policy exactly two decades ago through a constitutional reform. Accordingly, nine regional states’ and two chartered cities’ bureaucracies were established besides the federal bureaucracy. It is obvious that, in addition to professionalism, civil service jobs generally require knowledge of certain official working language. Regions have chosen their own official working languages for their respective civil service institutions which have been reiterated as the major opportunity brought by the multinational federal policy of the country. This paper emphasizes on the bureaucracies of the Federal Government where Amharic is retained as the sole working language. From the outset, we ask questions: How could it be possible to build representative civil service institutions in multilingual polities? What are the roles of federal restructuring and official working language? What are the challenges that Ethiopia is facing at the federal level in terms of building a representative bureaucracy? This piece uses governmental reports of five years (2003-2008) and other theoretical literature to lay out Ethiopia’s (re)quest for building equitable federal bureaucracies. Overall, the finding show that, even though it may be different for political positions: the Amharic monolingual language policy of the federal government has ensured inequitable access to the federal civil service institutions, thereby posing challenges to the constitutional vision of building equitable and multicultural bureaucracy.