Who is Dawuro People?
Dawro is a zone in the Southwest Ethiopia Region of Ethiopia. It is located at about 500km southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and 319 km of Hawassa, the capital of the SNNPR.
Before going to the detail discussion of the topic, it is very important to make some points on the confusion surrounding the names Dawro, Dauro, Dawaro and Dawuro.
Except few scholars, most have written in their documents the names Dawro, Dauro and Dawaro for Dawuro. The mistake might have been made due to the scholars’ or writers’ deficiency in a certain area of language skills, lack of sufficient knowledge of Dawuro culture and history, and/or other causes. In short, of these four names, the correct one is Dawuro. The name “Dawuro” represents both the land and the people.
Dawuro Zone together with the now Konta Special Wereda was formerly called Kullo Konta Awuraja of Kaffa T ‘ek ‘ilay Gizat and later on Kaffa Kifle Hager. While the Administrative Regions were reorganized towards the last few years of Derg Regime, Kullo Konta Awuraja was incorporated into the newly formed “Semen Omo Administrative Region”. After the EPDRF government seized power and gave emphasis to ethnic groups, the name Kullo which was given by unknown body at unknown time was rejected and the name Dawuro which was favored by the natives became the name of the land and the people. Dawuro continued to be one of the Administrative Areas which formed the Derg’s “Semen Omo Administrative Region” and later on “Semen Omo Zone”. Following the disintegration of “Semen Omo Zone”, Dawuro officially became Zone in November 2000. Since then, Dawuro has been one of the 16 Zones in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR). In 2018/2019, Dawuro began claiming to become a Region.
The 2nd biggest hydroelectric power generation dam in Ethiopia now, Gibe III, is being built on Omo river between Dawuro and Wolayita zones. The capital town of Dawuro is Tarcha. The center of Tarcha is situated at 70 14 ‘ north latitude and 370 5 ‘ east longitude and 1200m to appoximately 1450m above sea level. Tarcha is 505 km from Addis Abeba through Jimma road, and 325 km through Wolayita Sodo-Chida road from Hawassa, the Capital of SNNPR.lay
Where Are they Located?
Dawuro is estimated to lie in between 60 35 ‘ to 70 34 ‘ north latitudes and 36 04 ‘ to 37 53 ‘ east longitudes. The Gojeb and Omo rivers circumscribe Dawuro from northwest to southwest in a clockwise direction. Dawuro shares boundaries with Konta Special Wereda in west, Jimma zone (Oromiya Region) in northwest, Hadiya and Kambata-Tambaro zones in northeast, Wolayita and Gamo zones in east, and Gofa zone in southeast. Dawuro has an area of 5,225.61 km2. It has 10 Weredas, namely Esara, Kachi, Tocha, Mari Mantsa, Marak ‘a, Tarcha Zuria, Gena, Zaba, Loma and Zisa, and Tarcha Town Administration.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The landscape of Dawuro is mostly mountains, plateaus, deep gorges and low land plains. Some of the mountains are Esara, Gazo, Gumati, Hayo, Atso saddle mountains, Hatsinga and Gulo. The plateau covers areas from Gora upland in Loma Wereda to the border of Konta in east-west direction and from Waka [Waca] town to the confluence of Zigna and Omo rivers in north-south direction.
The altitude of Dawuro ranges from 500 meters around the confluence of Zigna and Omo rivers to 3000 meters above sea level at Tuta in Tocha Wereda. Thus, Dawuro exhibits climatic variations from lowland to highland. This enriched Dawuro with a variety of tree species and natural vegetation/forest. For instance, Churuchura-Chabara National Park, natural forests along Gojeb and Omo rivers valleys and other bigger rivers in the zone. Dawuro is also endowed with perennial rivers whose springs are the highlands aforementioned. Some of the bigger rivers include Zigna, Dalta, Buk ‘a, Mantsa, Shata, Wogayi, Dibisa, Yarda, C ‘awa, Zo ‘a, Kotoro, Panta, Koma, Karetsa hatsa, Mawula, Wuni and Zayiri. All these rivers and others of Dawuro are tributaries of Gojeb and Omo rivers.
Dawuro people belong to Omotic family. The language of Dawuro people is Dawurotsuwa (in Latin orthography). Since 1994/1995, Dawurotsuwa has been serving as a medium of instruction in grades 1-4 and of oral communication in the Zone’s different government offices. To use Dawurotsuwa for written communication in the Zone’s government offices, efforts have been made. Apart from this, Dawurotsuwa is currently being given from grades 1-12 as a subject. Again, Dawurotsuwa became a department at undergraduate level at Tarcha Campus in 2018/2019. Based on 2007 census and considering several factors, the population of Dawuro nationality at Zone level is estimated to be 936,468 in 2018/2019.
Although Dawuro has not been well known by most Ethiopian and western scholars until recently, thanks to EPRDF government and Gibe III project, its remarkable history and fascinating culture and their heritages have been well known. Among the heritages, two astonishing ones are the Great defensive Walls and the longest woodwind musical instrument in the world locally called “Dinka” (4 to 5 meters long, four in number). Dawuro had been a highly centralized powerful independent Kingdom until it was incorporated into Modern Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik in 1893.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Regarding the beliefs of Dawuro people, traditional beliefs had been widely practiced until the fall of Derg Regime. Though the exact percentage is not available, the Dawuros are now mainly the followers of Orthodox Tewahido, Protestant and Catholic religions. But this does not mean that all the followers of these religions have deep knowledge of the Bible and related church practices. Hence, it seems that the contents of the Bible and the related religious practices need to be taught in breadth and depth.
What Are Their Needs?
As regards the settlement of the Dawuro people, the majority of the people live in rural areas. Hence, their livelihood is based on mixed agricultural activities. Until some years of the EPDRF government passed, Dawuro had been in dark. No single all weather road, no hospital, only one high school, etc. Some of the major problems that still exist are low coverage of well networked all weather roads, low education coverage, poor health services (e.g. no one Referral level Hospital) and low coverage of potable water. So, Dawuro people are in need of any charitable organization in these areas.
The great wall of #Dawuro_Kawo_Halala‘
The world community in general, and that of the continents and nations in particular have history permeated by both evil and good circumstances. This gets reflected in the livelihood,culture, language, faith, economy and political integrity of a given society.
Among others, if we roughly look over the history and culture of different nations in Ethiopia, we notice that most of them have no manuscripts and as such facts were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Even, some manuscripts found reflect not the reality on the ground. Rather the interest of the authors were being foregrounded.
The Dawuro community had been ruled by kings. King Halala, for instance, ruled Dawero from 1782- 1822E.C. As a versatile king he had accomplished various tasks worthy of passing down from generation to generation or the annals of history.
The predominant task of king Halala was the construction of a great wall called ‘Kawo Halala’. The building work of the wall was started several years before Halala came to power. The construction of the wall saw completion during his reign.
Over 56 nation and nationalities cohabit the southern part of the nation. These nationals have a wealth of history that is untold yet.
Dawuros are among the nationals whose history has been shrouded in mystery for ages. As a result, the history and the accomplishments of this community didn’t get an opportunity to pass down to posterity.
In this regard, making research and documenting facts about communities like Dawuro, has pivotal role for the society in particular and country in general.
With respect to this, Dawuro Zone Administration, in collaboration with Dawuro Cultural and Tourism Communication Affairs bureau, is ardently studying the history and tradition of the community in a bid to preserve and transfer them for generations to come.
From the dawn of history,mankind had utilized stones for a multitude of things. Predominantly, stones were employed for inscribing messages on, for constructing pyramids, building churches, fencing off compounds and making layers of stone walls.
Some of the heritages had won worldwide fame. For instance, the great wall of China and Babylon, the pyramid of Egypt, the stone wall of Zimbabwe, the obelisk of Aksum, the Lalibela rock hewn churches and the wall of Harare are but to mention some of the exemplary ones.
Unlike, the aforementioned heritages, for want of promotion the historical wall of ‘Kawo Halala’ had not come to the limelight of world community. The wall of ‘Halala’ was built for defending enemies. The wall has three to seven rows.
Each row has 175kms width. On the average, the width falls between 2.5 to 5 meters while the height between 2.5 to 3.8 meters.
The walls,that have seven doors, are built in the ancient way of forming fortress for defending one’s community.
To be honest, the art the Dawuros employed for putting in place the wall is stunning. Unless one sees it for oneself it may prove hard to visualize. The wall, named after king ‘Kawo Halala’ , on the average, had took 20 – 25 years to build.
According to some elderly the building of the wall was started by ancient kings of Dawuro that lived around a place called Qoga. Namely they are: King Susangiya Kawo Moha, king Sukute Zutuma Kawo Ubano and king Zalinsa Kawuka Dino Moha respectively. Kalsiya Gawo Jano was also among the inhabitants in the area. He had played quite a role for construction of the wall.
Some facts indicate, to ward off possible attack by enemies the wall fences off Omo and Gojeb rivers. To demonstrate the significance of the wall, some Dawro researchers in their native language say, “Abo Dadadan Gumya Halala Dawuro”.
Meaning, “The wall we built is an emblem of our freedom. It is a stamp for the right of our community. ”
Walayita, Gamo Gofa, Hadiya, Dawuro and Kambata Tembaro zones boarder river Omo . Where as, river Gojeb is sandwiched between the Oromia and Dawuro boarders.
Despite the presence of such strategically advantageous natural boarders , the Dawuro community has built a great wall to defend their community from enemies. A history text book entitled ‘Dawuro Community up to 1983E.C ‘ indicates that Dawuro people were heros potent enough to maintain their freedom.
Dawuro Zone Cultural, Tourism and Communication Affairs Department, Public Relation Expert, Tesfaye Ayele said that from 15 – 19th century the Dawuro community was run by a monarchical system. In the course of this period, 14 kings had came to power. These kings ruled seven towns of Dawuro maintaining its unity.
According to Tesfaye, out of the 175 kms long great wall a wall of about five kilo meters length has to be dislodged related with Gilgil Gibe Three Hydro Electric Project.
Taking the significance of the hydro electric power for the community as a solution, Minister of Culture and Tourism, and Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation have reached on a consensus to keep a sample of the wall in a cultural center. Similarly, they have agreed on the aforesaid issue. So, a sample will be put at cultural centers with a brief explanation about the wall. There up on, it will be open for visitors, he noted.
Unlike the Aksum obelisk, it is difficult to transfer the wall to other places intact. Since, the stones are layered one on another, care must be taken for it would be difficult to manage if a portion is dislodged out of it. So, the task of preserving a sample or part of the wall to be dislodged had been conducted in a safe manner, Tesfaye said.
Moreover, he noted though the task of introducing the great wall of ‘Kawo Halala’ commenced long time, due to various hindrances the accomplishment is far from satisfactory. Nevertheless, like the wall of Harar and the stales of Tiya this wall too need be preserved.
Researchers are expected to work hard to get the Dawero wall registered in UNESCO’s list. Moreover, the responsible body need tend the matter.
The great wall was built in a stiflingly hot area with the mobilization of the local community. This might be historic, researchers have to work hard to get this heritage registered in UNSECO’s list.
Generally, the great wall of Dawuro built as a fort against possible enemies has a great history to be told for the current generation.
In addition, it tells about, the love, unity and integrity of the then community.
Youths of this generation drawing a lesson from the prowess mentioned above, could carry out activities in an integrated manner and lend impetus to the campaign against poverty
Written by: SAMUEL ALEMU