Tribes
Arbore Tribe Omo Valley Ethiopia

Arbore Tribe

Arbore Tribe

Also known as Ulde, the Arbore tribe of South Omo Ethiopia are the southern neighbors of the Tsemay. They live in the hot plains north of Chew Bahir and are predominantly pastoralists. Livestock have high economic and social value for the Arbore.

Arbore Tribe South Omo Ethiopia

They keep cattle, sheep and goats. Milking cows, calves, sheep and goats are kept in the vicinity of the settlement. The rest of the livestock move from place to place in temporary camps. In times of drought the Arbore temporarily move their cattle to the neighboring Tsemay and Borana where they have peaceful and cooperative relations.

The Arbore Tribe of South Omo Ethiopia practice a slash and burn shifting cultivation method of agriculture, which is dependent upon the flooding of the Woito River and the seasonal rains. For every harvesting season elected elders, known as murra, assess the suitable land for agriculture and distribute it among the people, giving priority to the poor, orphans and widows.

Girls and women are adorned with beads and bracelets. They dress in skirts made from skin uniquely designed and decorated with beads and pieces of metal. Unmarried girls shave their hair clean and put a black piece of cloth on top of their head for sun protection. Arbore men wrap a white piece of cloth on their heads.

Funerals (negelcha) by Arbore Tribe of South Omo Ethiopia

When an adult man dies all his jewelry is buried with him. Relatives will put butter and milk in his mouth with a new gourd and the corpse is covered with a new cloth and sheepskin. Then the relatives will ask the dead person to bless his cattle. Finally, four individuals will take the corpse and bury it. Following this ritual it is believed that his cattle will be safe.

A few days after he is buried a ritual called (awal) will follow. A goat will be slaughtered and one of the un-skinned legs is placed on the grave of the dead person. The grave will be covered with abdominal fat. The eldest son will then inherit his father’s wealth and must promise to distribute his father’s cattle to his paternal uncles and younger brothers. A feast is prepared for relatives and friends.

Tribes
Bodi Tribe Omo Valley Ethiopia

Bodi Tribe

Bodi Tribe

The Bodi Tribe, Omo Valley are predominantly pastoral, living directly north of the Mursi, with whom they share much of their way of life. Except for limited agricultural activity around the Omo River, the Bodi depend entirely on animal husbandry.

Their culture is very much based on cattle. Like the Mursi tribe, the Bodi’s classification of cattle is complex, with over 80 words used to denote different colors and hid patterns. They migrate with their cattle, constructing temporary camps to prevent overgrazing of the land, and they also practice slash and burn techniques to grow new grasses. When a child is born, livestock is bestowed upon him; the father will usually present him with an ox and a cow.

The diet of Bodi tribe of Omo Valley consists mainly of blood (taken either directly from a wound made into the neck of the cattle, or stored in a calabash gourd), milk and dry porridge made either from sorghum or maize.

Men dress much like the Mursi and shave their hair in the same way. Bodi men are of larger stature than men from the neighboring tribes. Women dress in skirts made from goatskin tied at the waist and shoulder. The men fasten a strip of cotton or bark-cloth around their waist. Like the Mursi people, women cut their hair short and wear a small wooden plate in their ear. And like the Kara, Bodi tribe women pierce their bottom lip and fill the hole with a nail or wooden plug in a wider mode. Body scarification is practiced by men and broadly by women for decoration.

Tribes
Dassanech tribe Omo Valley Ethiopia

Dassanech Tribe

Dassanech Tribe

The Dassanech tribe live around the Omo delta on the northern side of Lake Turkana. They practice flood retreat cultivation, pastoralism and fishing. The Dassanech are the most southerly ethnic group living in Ethiopia’s Omo valley. The lands of the Dassanech are semi-arid and they live where the Omo delta enters Lake Turkana. Their name means People of the Delta. Despite the lake and delta, this is an incredibly dry region; there is nothing but desert to the west and southwest.

Cattle are central to the lives of the Dassanech Tribe, just as they are for the other ethnicities of the Omo valley. As well as meat, milk, leather for clothing, houses and mattresses, they provide status in the community, and the bride-wealth that allows a man to marry.

The Dassanech of Omo Valley Ethiopia community is not strictly defined by ethnicity. Over time the ethnic group has absorbed a wide range of different peoples and it’s now divided in to eight main clans. Each clan has its own identity and customs, its own responsibilities towards the rest of the community, and is linked to a particular territory.

The largest clan is the Galbur, or Water and Crocodile clan. The Dassanech tribe believe its members have the power over both water and crocodiles and are responsible for treating diseases throughout the ethnic group. The Turat clan is responsible for dealing with burns from fire. They have powers to ward off snakes and to cure many diseases, and also have the ability to keep their enemies away from their animals. Another important clan is Turnyerim, which has powers over drought. They pray for rains during dry periods and they can also cure snakebites by spitting on the wound. Other clans claim to have healing powers over eye infections, scorpion bites, muscular problems, and so on. Members of the same clan are forbidden from marrying – or indeed dancing – with each other.

As with most pastoralists in the area, the diet of the Dassanech people usually consists of dry porridge with milk, but they also hunt crocodile and fish the Omo River.

Dassanech Tribe, Omo Valley Ethiopia

Appearance

Dassanech tribe women wear clothes made from leather. The men wear sarong-like garments. Both men and women of the ethnic group adorn themselves with beads and bracelets. Men can often be seen carrying a small stool or pillow, which is pretty ubiquitous in this southern region.

Marriage

The Dassanech have four types of marriage:

  • darech – arranged marriage
  • garu wegesa – consensual marriage
  • seriti – marriage through abduction
  • ayodi – marriage by inheritance.

Marriage payments (koyta) can be made both in cash and in kind. The koyta is shared among the relatives of the bride but the largest share will go to her father.

Ceremonial Events of Dassanech Tribe, Omo Valley Ethiopia

Dimmi

This ritual is a tradition associated with the blessing of the first born daughters. Dimmi is performed when the girl reaches the age of 8–10. Each clan has their own special site where they perform the ritual. Girls of the same age and clan are blessed together. Before the ritual begins, temporary huts are built. Goats and cattle will be brought to slaughter at the ceremony. The girls’ fathers are expected to be well decorated. The blessing is made by a group of elders known as buls. The main purpose of the blessing is to ensure the girls fertility in their future life. Following the ceremony the father becomes an elder.

Circumcision

Both men and women are circumcised in Dassanech tribe society, as a pre-requisite for marriage. Male circumcision is known as edimita. Boys of a clan undergo circumcision together. Each clan has a site designed for this purpose. Temporary huts will be built at the site and the boys are transferred to these huts. During this time they are visited by some members of their family to deliver food and other necessities. The circumcision ceremony lasts for three months, during which time the boys dance and feast on milk, roasted crops and meat. On the day of circumcision, the person who is responsible for circumcising the clan boys circumcises each boy one by one. Then the boys return home with their parents.

Dassanech tribe girls are circumcised young, at around 10 or 12 years of age. If they are not circumcised, a girl can’t marry and her father won’t receive her bride-price, so he has a direct interest in her going through the ordeal. Until they are circumcised, girls are called wild animals or men to tease them. Girls may be circumcised in their mother’s house, or in another village, but it’s always amongst other girls their age going through the same ritual. When the ritual has been completed, the girl is given sour milk to drink and a necklace by her mother. From then on, she is allowed to wear a leather skirt to show she is now considered an adult. Marriage often takes place shortly thereafter.

The Dassanech are in conflict with all of their neighbors because of the scarcity of natural resources and ongoing cattle-raiding. The Dassanech fight sporadically with the Hamar, the Nyangatom and the Turkana tribes with whom they share borders.

Tribes
Hamar tribe omo valley Ethiopia

Hamar Tribe

Hamar Tribe

Hamar Tribe, Omo Valley Ethiopia

The Hamar tribe are principally pastoralists, breeding cattle, goats and sheep. They have a similar veneration for cattle as their close neighbors. The women and girls grow crops, with the staple being sorghum, but they also grow beans, maize and pumpkin. The women are also responsible for collecting water, cooking, and looking after the household and children – who start helping the family by herding the goats from around age eight. The young men of the village work the crops and defend the herds, while adult men herd the cattle, plough with the oxen and raise beehives in acacia trees.

As with the majority of tribes in the area, the land is not owned by individuals; it is free for use by any member of the family group. The Hamar move on when they’ve exhausted the land.

Diet of Hamar Tribe

A dry porridge of either sorghum or maize is consumed with milk or boiled coffee husk (shoforo). Balasha, dry bread made mainly from sorghum, is sometimes eaten with butter and honey.

Appearance

The Hamar are amongst the most readily identifiable of all the peoples of the South Omo. Women wear an elaborately decorated goatskin, often colored with beads and cowries. Beaded necklaces, bracelets and waistbands adorn their bodies, which, for the Hamar tribe, tend to be made with black and red beads. (The Banna, their close neighbors, mostly use blue and black beads). Women wear thick copper necklaces announcing their marital status. They wear a lather long tipped necklace and two copper necklaces if they’re the first wife and only two copper necklaces if they’re second, third or fourth wife to one man.

One striking characteristic of the Hamar men and women is that they indulge in elaborate hair-dressing. Men wear a clay cap which is painted and decorated with feathers and other ornaments. They also paint themselves with white chalk paste during ceremonial events. The women decorate their hair with clay and butter twisted into a striking long plait. Ethnic men are often seen carrying a small stool or pillow in the Omo region in general.

Marriage by Hamar Tribe

The Hamar have five types of marriage:

  • An arranged marriage
  • kindle kays – consensual marriage
  • yedot – marriage through abduction
  • ishmena – marriage by inheritance
  • merima – replacement marriage

Ceremonial Events of Hamar Tribe

Cattle Jumping (ukule Bulla) A Hamar tribe man comes of age by leaping over a line of cattle. This ceremony qualifies him to marry, own cattle and have children. The timing of the ceremony is decided by the man’s parents and usually happens after the harvest. Prior to the ceremony the male who has to jump walks to neighboring settlements to announce his intent to jump and to distribute invitations (usually a strip of bark with a number of knots, one for each day left before the ceremony).

On the afternoon of the leap, as guests gather, the man’s female relatives demand to be whipped as part of the ceremony. The Maza (a man who has already jumped the cattle between three months) uses a long fin stick and strikes the girls on their exposed backs. This is a consensual act, with the girls begging and singing to the Maza so that he continues whipping them. This is not only a show of strength from the girls, who proudly show off their scars, but it also symbolizes their affiliation towards their kin. Her scars are a mark of how she suffered for her brothers and relatives.

The young man who is to leap has his head partially shaved and he’s rubbed with sand to wash away his sins. He’s then smeared with dung to give him strength, while strips of tree bark are strapped around his body in a cross as a form of spiritual protection.

The Maza and the elders line up between eight and twenty cows and castrated male cattle. To come of age, the man must leap across the line four times. Only when he has been through this initiation rite can he marry the wife chosen for him by his parents, and start to build up his own herd. Once his marriage has been agreed, a dowry of around twenty cattle and thirty goats must be paid to the bride’s family.

Evan Gadi

Night dances take place on a regular basis and are usually associated with crop harvests, the full moon, peace and stability. They are also where unmarried women and young men come together to meet, dance, and enjoy relations.

Enemies / Foes

The traditional enemies of the Hamar people are the Dassanech and the Nyangatom, and there have been several recent conflicts between the tribes. Their closest neighbours and allies, the Banna and the Karo, intermarry and share similar cultures and rituals.

Tribes

Karo or Kara Tribe

Karo or Kara Tribe

Kara or Karo Tribe, Omo Valley

Unlike with the lowland pastoralists, cattle are owned in small numbers by the Kara (Karo tribe), and goats are their main livestock. Although pastoralist by tradition, the Kara (Karo) now subsist growing sorghum, maize and other crops because of the livestock losses to disease in the tsetse-infected area some years ago.

The Kara (Karo) live together in three large villages (Korcho, Duss and Labuk) as they are comparatively few in number. The Kara (Karo) tribe doesn’t have their own markets so they trade with the Hamar at the markets in Dimeka and Turmi.

The Kara (Karo) have a traditional way of fishing. A portion of wood is sharpened at one end and used to spear fish in the Omo River or Lake Karo. In the language of the Kara (Karo) people, the word Kara (Karo) means fish.

They have cultural and linguistic commonalities with the Hamar tribe and perform the cattle jumping ceremony for young Kara (Karo) boys to pass into adulthood. Their diet mostly consists dry porridge or bread produced from sorghum is consumed with either milk or boiled coffee husk called shoforo. Young Kara (Karo) tribe boys mostly eat fish; meat is not often consumed unless there are ceremonies or family events.

In common with most of Omo Valley Ethiopia ethnic groups, scarification plays an important role in Kara body decoration. The men plaster their hair in tight buns (previously recognized as a hero sign) The hairstyle  favored  by  Kara  women  is  tightly cropped at the side, tied into bulbous knots and dyed ochre on top. Men and women also make an incision below their bottom lip and insert a nail or piece of wood. The Kara men are best known for the elaborate body painting they indulge in before important ceremonies. They paint their faces and bodies in white chalk and pierce their ears in five places

Tribes
Kwegu tribe of Omo Valley Ethiopia

Kwegu Tribe

Kwegu Tribe

Kwegu (Mugugi) Tribe

The Kwegu (Mugugi) tribes of South Omo Ethiopia live at the confluence of the Mago and Omo rivers but they also mingle with the Mursi and the Karo. They are specialists at bee­ keeping and fishing.

The Kwegu (Mugugi) tribe people are predominantly pastoralist, but those living at lower altitude practice mixed farming. They have a tradition of bee-keeping. Hives (known as Wera) are constructed by men from brushwood, creeping plants and barks, and covered with grasses. Each man owns 15-20 hives which are hung from forest trees along the riverbank. The Kwegu (Mugugi) tribe live on the honey as well as trading it in the local markets.

The traditional leaders of the Kwegu (Mugugi) of Omo Ethiopia tribe are the imunkapen and the pankagudel.

The Kwegu (Mugugi) tribe builds boats, known as gaggi, which are their only means of transport along this stretch of the Omo. The boats are made by hollowing out a large tree, such as the fig (Ficus sp.). The young Kwegu (Mugugi) tribe men then build the craft using local handmade tools, with the construction process overseen by the more experienced men. These large boats can carry 8-10 men and are propelled with a long Y-shaped pole.

The main diet of the Kwegu (Mugugi) tribe of South Omo Ethiopia is either dry porridge or a kind of bread made from sorghum and maize, with boiled coffee or milk. The honey they produce constitutes a large part of their diet.

Appearance of the Kwegu of South Omo Tribes

Kwegu (Mugugi) of South Omo tribe’s women shave their hair clean with a razor blade. They also wear a lower lip plug and adorn themselves with beads and jewelry. Women wear dresses made from lather which is designed in their traditional style with unique decoration made from nails. The tribesmen are visibly less adorned than men from neighboring ethnic groups.

Marriage 

The Kwegu (Mugugi) tribe value consensual marriage, abductions are considered taboo.

Ceremonial Events in Kweku of South Omo Ethiopia Tribes

Hunting (adema)

Hunting is practiced individually as well as in groups. The hunters are blessed before they leave to bestow success upon them. During the blessing, which is performed by a senior member of the village, the hunters disclose any grievance they may have with another member of the hunting party.

A member of the village is designated as the rain­ maker and during times of shortage a ritual is undertaken in order to produce rain (to aid cultivation). The rain-maker is taken to the Omo River where he is dipped into the water, after which he is served milk and honey. The group then shares borde (a locally produced beer made from sorghum). The rain-maker also performs rituals to ease excess rainfall. During this ceremony the rain-maker takes a sample of mud and places it inside his house.

Circumcision {qorin)

Kwegu (Mugugi) tribe (Mugugi) tribe boys are circumcised between the age of seven and eight. Each village will build a temporary hut outside their permanent residence where the boys will remain secluded for some time. During this time the boys are provided with everything they need by their families. The circumcision is undertaken by a member of the clan. Once circumcised the boys walk home one by one with their parents.

Tribes

Mursi tribe

Mursi tribe

The Mursi tribe live in an almost inaccessible area between the Mago and Omo Rivers. They are predominantly pastoral but they also engage in limited agriculture. They live in approximate area of 1,900 square kilometers with an approximate population of 7,500. The altitude of Mursi territory varies from 460 meters to 1666 meters having semi-arid to arid climate. They have 12 clans.

Way of life of the Mursi Tribe

Cattle are the Mursi’s most prized possession. They measure wealth by the number of cattle they own and name themselves after the color of their favorite cattle. They measure wealth by the number of cattle they own and men name themselves after the color of their favorite cattle while women tend to be named after wild animals with an interesting skin colors like giraffe, leopard, zebra, colobus monkey, kudu, etc. The Mursi tribe of Omo Valley Ethiopia are considered one of the wealthiest ethnic groups in the area as they own greater numbers of cattle.

Virtually every significant social relationship, most notably marriage, is marked and validated by the exchange of cattle. The dowry is usually a number of cattle (around 30-40) and, more commonly nowadays, a gun. This bride wealth is given to the bride’s father by the groom’s family. For this reason, female children are seen as a blessing because they will eventually contribute to their father’s wealth. This doesn’t mean that male children are any less important as they will be responsible for looking after the animals. Despite their reverence for cattle, the Mursi also practice flood retreat cultivation and rain-fed bush-land cultivation. It has been suggested that if they were to be denied access to the Omo River they could only survive by becoming dependent on food aid. Their main crop is sorghum, but they also grow maize, beans, chick-peas and tobacco. They are also known to hive bees for honey.

Diet

The staple diet of the Mursi is a kind of dry porridge made from sorghum or maize. This is supplemented with milk and blood (taken either directly from a wound made into the neck of their cattle, or stored in a calabash gourd). Although it is uncommon, the Mursi do eat meat, usually in times of drought or at ceremonial events.

Appearance

The Mursi tribe of Omo Valley Ethiopia are a tall, striking race, with an aggressive reputation. The men only wear a blanket tied over one shoulder, the women a similarly fashioned goatskin. Both sexes cut their hair very short and shave designs into it. The women are famed for wearing large plates in their lips (round clay plates placed into a cut in the lower lip) and ears. There is much controversy surrounding the origins of the lip plate, ranging from ‘disfigurement to discourage slave raiders’ (National Geographic magazine, Sept 1938) to having it as an object of beauty.

It has often been suggested that the size of the lip plate correlates to the amount they are ‘worth’ in terms of bride-price. These theories have, generally, all been rejected on good evidence. It probably signifies when the Mursi women reach adulthood and, therefore, reproductive age. Scarification is also practiced: a common design is usually found on the left shoulder of the men and announces their passing into adulthood. The small dots that make up the scar are made with a razor blade. Dirt is then rubbed into the wound to make it stand out. The women have similar designs across their chests. They wear a lot of jewels, mostly metal armbands, bracelets and anklets. Particularly during festivals, the women also adorn themselves with animal skins, head­ dresses made from warthog tusks, and suchlike. The men can also be seen wearing bracelets made from ivory and elephant hair. They carry a large stick (Donga) which they use for fighting. This is, however, being replaced by the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle.

Marriage

The Mursi have four types of marriage:

  • tokoto gama -arranged marriage
  • gama -consensual marriage
  • gnisiye- marriage through abduction
  • sermay-marriage by inheritance

Ceremonial Event of Omo Valley Ethiopia’s Mursi Tribe

Stick fighting called Donga takes place between the Mursi men. A long wooden pole is used in combat by the two men. Holding the stick at one end, opponents strike blows at each other. It is a dangerous, fierce and artistic confrontation. The same event is practiced by the Suri tribe. As with the Suri, the Mursi tribe practice ritual stick fights or Donga. A long wooden pole is used in combat by the two men. Holding the stick at one end, opponents strike blows at each other. It is a dangerous, fierce and artistic confrontation. The fights are held so that young men can prove themselves to the girls and find a wife. But they’re more than just a place to meet. Dongas can be used to settle disputes between individuals, clans or even whole villages. Dongas can take place at any time of the year but they are most common during and after the rains when food is plentiful. Referees monitor the fight and keep the spectators at a safe distance. The fighters are adorned with protective clothing, usually woven shields over the fingers of one hand, as well as on the knees, shins and elbows. A helmet is often fashioned from the same woven material.

Conflicts / Disputes

The Mursi are culturally and linguistically similar to the Suri and they believe they and the Suri are one people. Inter-marriage is not unheard of. Their next nearest neighbors’, both linguistically and geographically, are the Bodi and the Nyangatom, with whom there is intermittent hostility. The Mursi tribe are generally a feared race and their reputation amongst tourists is no better. However, if you look beyond the surface you find an inquisitive, audacious, jovial and welcoming people. Even in this most remote and inhospitable place there is resoluteness about the people – perhaps it derives from their simple determination to survive – and yet, underlying this tough exterior, is a lighthearted and frivolous community.

Tribes
Nyangatom Tribe, Omo Valley Ethiopia

Nyangatom Tribe

Nyangatom Tribe

The Nyangatom tribe are predominantly pastorals but they also practice dry farming during the wet season and flood cultivation along the west bank of the Lower Omo and at Kibish Rivers during the dry season. Within the territory of the Nyangatom tribe two different types of settlement and lifestyle have evolved.

Along the west bank of the southern Omo River the Nyangatom practice agriculture, growing sorghum, maize, beans and tobacco. They also fish in the Omo River. It’s likely that these tribes-people live here because at some point they lost their cattle. It is impossible to raise livestock along this section of the Omo River because of the Tsetse fly. The rest of the Nyangatom live a more semi-nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, moving with their herds throughout south-western Ethiopia, the Ilemi Triangle and the Toposa lands of neighboring Sudan.

The Nyangatom tribe are divided into about seven main- and 20 sub clans. Membership is via the paternal line – you belong to the clan your father belongs to. These clans vary in size from a few members to several hundred. The Nyangatom – are also divided into territorial sections. These might be named after migratory birds (Storks, Flamingos, Ibis) or have ethnic names (Kumam, Ngaric), or other names taken from nature (Castor Tree). Social organization is by – generation-set. Each generation is given a name. The earliest ancestors are called the Founders. Their sons were the Wild Dogs. Then the Zebras, the Tortoises, and the Mountains follow and so on. The oldest generation-set still living is called the Elephants; then the Ostriches and the Antelopes. The youngest generations are known as the Buffaloes Fathers and sons always socialize separately. The Elders remain in the village while the boys herd the goats that graze on bushes around the village. The women milk the livestock. The traditional leader of the Nyangatom is the akatuken.

Tribes
Suri Tribe Omo Valley Ethiopia

Surma or Suri Tribe

Surma or Suri Tribe

The Surma or Suri tribe are pastorals who live in the lowlands to the west of the Omo bordering Sudan. They live a similar lifestyle to the Mursi. As with the Mursi, cattle are invaluable to them. For both these peoples, it is the woman’s job to take care of the household and the land. Traditionally, their homes are constructed from wood and grasses, and most of the cooking takes place outside on an open fire. The young boys and unmarried men take care of the cattle. They spend much of the year in temporary grazing camps, returning to their established settlements for additional food and ceremonial events.

To the untrained eye it’s difficult to tell the Surma or Suri Tribe and Mursi apart. Their clothing, beautification processes of scarification, lip plates, hair design and jewelry are all similar. Like the Mursi, Suri girls are adorned with a lip plug from their mid-teens. A hole is pierced in the lower lip and plugged with a piece of wood until it heals. It is then stretched by the girl who repeatedly places larger wooden plugs in the hole until it is replaced by the clay plate.

The Surma or Suri tribe practice the art of body painting. Different clay are collected to acquire colors ranging from red, orange, yellow and white. They are mixed with a little water and painted onto face and body. The Suri are exceptional artists, although each design is both unique and only temporary. The Mursi practice this art to a lesser extent, but generally with less aptitude.

Tribes
Ethiopian Omo Valley Tribes, Tsemay

Tsemay Tribe

Tsemay Tribe

Tsemay Tribe, Ethiopian Omo Valley

Way of Life

The principle livelihood of the Tsemay tribe living in Ethiopian Omo Valley is rearing livestock, but they practice agriculture alongside animal husbandry. They mainly produce sorghum and maize using the slash and burn method and shifting cultivation. They have a tradition of cooperating with each other during land preparation, as well as farming and harvesting, which is a common feature of most of the  Omo Valley tribes (ethnic groups) in the area.

Decisions are made by calling a bulki (general assembly) of the Tsemay whoh dwels in South-West Ethiopian Omo Valley.

The spiritual leader of the Tsemay tribe is the bogolko, who prays for rain, good harvests, the health of children and also makes the sacrifices. Tsemay tribe ethnic groups are considered as magicians by people in the urban areas of the southern Omo area.

Similar to all the lowland ethnic groups of the Omo, the main staple of the Tsemay tribe of Omo Valley Ethiopia is prepared from sorghum and maize. In the absence of sufficient grain they use local plants such as halekko (moringa), erro, merahie and machie as alternative foodstuffs. In times of surplus, the Tsemay tribe mix sorghum with ash so that it can be stored for a long time without being spoilt or damaged by insects.

Appearance of Omo Valley Ethiopian Tsemay Tribes

The men wear the ode, a sarong-like garment. They also wear beaded ornaments on their elbows and neck. Until marriage, girls wear garments made from cotton or leather. Married women wear the fulat, a skirt made from leather that is narrowed at the front and thicker at the back. They also wear kashe (a necklace).