Tsemay Tribe Ethiopia

Tsemay Tribe Ethiopia

Way of Life of the Tsemay Tribe Ethiopia

The Tsemay tribe live around the Woito River and are predominantly agriculturalists. The principal livelihood of the Tsemay 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 tribes in the Omo area. Decisions are made by calling a bulky (general assembly). The spiritual leader of the Tsemay tribe is the Bogolko, who prays for rain, good harvests, and the health of children and also makes sacrifices. Tsemay tribes are considered to be masters of witchcraft by people in the urban areas of the southern Omo area.

Diet of the Tsemay Tribe

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

The Appearance

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).

Tsemay Tribe Ethiopia Marriage

The Tsemay tribe has five types of marriage:
• Haliko egail – arranged marriage
• Wawaki bais – consensual marriage
• Midi – marriage through abduction
• Shano – marriage by inheritance
• Sagarte – replacement marriages.

Marriage Ceremony (Keberko)

In most cases, unlike the other tribes of the Omo Valley, the Tsemay tribe does not have their partner chosen for them. They are free to make their own choice. When a couple agrees to live together, the groom will take the girl to his father’s house. The father then smears the bride with butter and prepares a skirt made of goatskin. The following morning the father sends elders to the girl’s house. When the girl’s father agrees, the dowry is paid. The bride’s family then prepares a feast for the couple and the groom’s family. At the end of the ceremony, both families give their blessing to the newlyweds.

About Author

Book authentic Omo Valley Tours with the best tour guide and operator in Ethiopia. Minalu Adem, the founder of Omo Valley Travel & Tours was born and raised in Jinka, South Omo Zone, SNNPR Ethiopia. Jinka is a small town in the middle of Omo Valley, Ethiopia. He worked as a local guide of Omo Valley from 1999 - to 2001 while attending his last three years of high school education. In 2002, he went to university and studied Business and Economics. Afterward, driven to return to his passion for working in tourism, he worked as a national tour guide for the top Ethiopian tour operators and outbound tour companies such as G Adventures.
In 2010, Minalu founded Omo Valley Travel & Tours, a local cultural tour operator outstretched from the Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia. Working in partnership with local communities in Omo Valley, we provide responsible and enriching cultural tours such as Omo Valley Tours from Jinka, Omo Valley tours from Addis Ababa, Omo Valley tours from Arba Minch, Omo Valley photography tours, and Omo Valley tribes tours to Mursi, Hamar, Banna, Aari, Dassanech, Karo (Kara), Surma/ Suri, Nyangatom, Arbore and the other tribes of the South Omo Valley.
Minalu published his first book titled "A Guide to the Tribes, Omo Valley" in 2014. The second edition was published in 2017. Drawing on his experience and passion, he shared a lot of essential information about the history, traditions, and customs of the incredible Omo Valley region.

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