Why Some Natural Areas Are Sacred? Lesson From Guji Oromo In Southern Ethiopia


Why Some Natural Areas Are Sacred? Lesson From Guji Oromo In Southern Ethiopia


Gemeda Odo Roba


Global Journal of Arts and Humanities

Current researches show that there are considerable sacred natural sites among Gujii Oromoo of southern Ethiopia. Nevertheless, the significant weight was not given to explore why some natural areas are sacred while others are profane. Hence, this article aims at addressing this question by exploring the traditional bases for classification of sacred and non-scared/profane land among Gujii Oromo in Adoola Reedde and Annaa Sorraa districts in Gujii Zone. Concerning methodological approach, methods of data gathering employed were in-depth and key informants’ interviews, transect walk and focus group discussions. The analysis of data was carried out through qualitative description and explanatory approach. The findings of the study demonstrate that dedication of some natural places to rituals of Gada system and adoring of waaqa in the area, are identified as the traditional grounds for sacredness of some natural sites. In addition, the symbolic connection of topographical features and agro-climatic condition with Guji cultural practices, on one hand and myths entrenched in the people’s tradition on the other are basic grounds for the classification of sacred areas from profane. Generally, some natural sites are sacred in the study area, not because of land’s unique feature or other aspects, but because of dedication to rituals in Gada system and worship of waaqa, symbolic implication of the area to Guji culture and related traditionally deep ingrained myths handed down from preceding generation.


Keywords: Natural area, sacred, Guji, southern Ethiopia

Free Full-text PDF


How to cite this article:
Gemeda Odo Roba.Why Some Natural Areas Are Sacred? Lesson From Guji Oromo In Southern Ethiopia. Global Journal of Arts and Humanities, 2018, 1:6


References:

1. Abate, T. (2016). Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and Pastoralist Perception on Rangeland Management and Degradation in Guji Zone of South Ethiopia. Consilience, (15), 192–218.
2. Amiji, H. (1975). The Bohras of East Africa. Journal of Religion in Africa, 7(1), 27–61. https://doi.org/10.2307/1594834
3. Bhagwat, S. A., & Rutte, C. (2006). Sacred groves: potential for biodiversity management. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4(10), 519–524. https://doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295(2006)4[519:SGPFBM]2.0.CO;2
4. Debelo, A. R. (2017). Competing Epistemologies: Conservationist Discourses and Guji Oromo’s Sacred Cosmologies. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture , P249-267. 19p., 11(2), 249–265.
5. Delgado, F., Escobar, C., Verschuuren, B., & Hiemstra, W. (2010). Sacred Natural Sites , Biodiversity and Well-being: The Role of Sacred Sites in Endogenous Development in the COMPAS Network.
6. Desalegn, F. (2013a). Indigenous Knowledge of Oromo on Conservation of Forests and its Implications to Curriculum Development: the Case of the Guji Oromo (Thesis). Retrieved from http://10.6.20.92:80/jspui/handle/123456789/8414
7. Desalegn, F. (2013b). Indigenous Knowledge of Oromo on Conservation of Forests and its Implications to Curriculum Development: the Case of the Guji Oromo (Doctoral Thesis). Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
8. Eliade, M. (1959). The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
9. Godbole, A., Sarnaik, J., & Punde, S. (2010). Culture-based Conservation of Sacred Groves: Experiences from the North Western Ghats, India. In B. Verschuuren, R. Wild, J. McNeely, & G. Oviedo (Eds.), Sacred Natural Sites Conserving Nature and Culture. London • Washington, DC: Earthscan.
10. Greene, S. E. (2002). Sacred Sites and the Colonial Encounter: A History of Meaning and Memory in Ghana. Indiana University Press.
11. Hinnant, J. (1977). The Gadaa System of the Guji of Southern Ethiopia (Doctoral Dissertation). The University of Chicago, Illinois.
12. Jemjem, U., & Dhadacha, G. (2011). Gadaa Democratic Pluralism with Particular Reference to the Guji Socio-Cultural and Politico-Legal Systems. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Rela Printing Press.
13. Jost, J. T., Kay, A. C., & Thorisdottir, H. (2009). Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification. Oxford University Press.
14. Martin, A. (2013, February 25). Sacred versus Profane. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp363-ss13/2013/02/25/304/
15. McGee, J., & Warms, R. (2008). Anthropological Theory: An introductory history (4th ed). New York: McGrew Hill.
16. Midgley, G. (1992). The sacred and profane in critical systems thinking. Systems Practice, 5(1), 5–16. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01060044
17. Nagesa, M. (2011). Indigenous Forest Utilization and Management Strategies vis-a-vis Subsistance Economy in Odo Shakiso Woreda Guji Zone (MA Thesis). Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
18. Nelson, J. (2003). Social Memory as Ritual Practice: Commemorating Spirits of the Military Dead at Yasukuni Shinto Shrine. The Journal of Asian Studies, 62(2), 443–467. https://doi.org/10.2307/3096245
19. Oviedo, G., Jeanrenaud, S., & Otegui, M. (2005). Protecting Sacred Natural Sites of Indigenous and Traditional Peoples: an IUCN Perspective. Gland, Switzerland.
20. Prince, R. (1967). The Changing Picture of Depressive Syndromes in Africa. Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des Études Africaines, 1(2), 177–192. https://doi.org/10.1080/00083968.1967.10803486
21. Seal, G. (2007). ANZAC: The sacred in the secular. Journal of Australian Studies, 31(91), 135–144. https://doi.org/10.1080/14443050709388135
22. Taddesse, B. (1995). Deforestation and Environmental Degradation in Ethiopia: The Case of Jam Jam Province. Northeast African Studies, 2(2), 139–155.
23. Taddesse, B. (2000). The Riddles of Number nine in Guji-Oromo Culture. Institute of Ethiopian Studies, 33(1), 49–66.
24. Taddesse, B. (2004). The Pride of the Guji-Oromo: An Essay on Cultural Contact and Self-Esteem. The Journal Oromo Studies, 11(1 &2), 14–26.
25. Turner, N. J., Ignace, M. B., & Ignace, R. (2000). Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Peoples in British Columbia. Ecological Applications, 10(5), 1275–1287. https://doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[1275:TEKAWO]2.0.CO;2
26. Van De Loo, J. (1991). Religious Practices of Guji Oromo. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
27. Verschuuren Bas, Wild, R., McNeely, J., & Oviedo, G. (Eds.). (2010). Sacred Natural Sites Conserving Nature and Culture. London EC1N 8XA, UK: Earthscan.
28. Wamue, G. N. (2001). Revisiting Our Indigenous Shrines Through Mungiki. African Affairs, 100(400), 453–467. https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/100.400.453
29. Wild, R., McLeod, C., & Valentine, P. (2008). Sacred Natural Sites: Guidelines for Protected Area Managers. IUCN.