Published in 2012, Dehu, Dereje Hinew, Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal – Archived on January 14th, 2014
Title: History of Oromo Social Organization: Gadaa Grades Based Roles and Responsibilities
Author: Dereje Hinew Dehu
Published: Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal Volume 1, Issue 3, 2012, pp. 97-105
Keywords: Oromo, Social organization, Gadaa, Luba, Gogeessa
The major purpose of this manuscript is to depict how membership to gadaa grades determined the social-political and economic roles and responsibilities of individuals in the Oromo society, and show the viability of values of Gadaa in democratic culture. TheGadaa system is a special socio-political organization of the Oromo people that has its origin in the age-system of the Horn of Africa. In the system, male individuals were grouped into grades known as gadaa. As an age-based social organization, the Gadaasystem provided the mechanism to motivate and organize members of the society into social structure. Various socio-political rights and responsibilities are associated with each group. Accordingly, the system provided a socio-political framework that institutionalized stratified relationship between seniors and juniors and egalitarian relations among members of the grade. Initiation into and promotion from one gadaagrade to the next were conducted every eight years. The fundamental quality of theGadaa system is that it has segmentation and specified social functions for its members that helped the members to develop a consistent and stable sense of self and others.
Gadaa system is one of the main themes studied by scholars of different disciplines. Scholars that studied Gadaa system at large gave attention to the nature of the institution, the socio-cultural performance in Gadaa system, calendar, and the political aspect of the Gadaa system. Asmarom produced the most comprehensive ethnographic study on the indigenous Oromo socio-political organization based on the people’s oral historic records (Asmarom, 1973). However, none of the scholars studied the age-grade privileges and responsibilities of individual members and clearly depicted the training, knowledge acquired and the rights and duties attributed to the members.