Introduction / History
The history of Gedeo people is related with the Oromo. Tradition holds that the Gedeo had as its father Darasa who was said be the brother of Guji Oromo. The Gedeo people, like other south Ethiopia peoples, were brought under Menelik II's control but in a peaceful manner. Later the people experienced the heavy burden of northern settlers in their land and were denied of all rights. The peak of reaction to northern domination came in 1960 when Gedeo peasants rebelled against the government, killing hundreds of settlers. The revolt however was suppressed by the heavy hand of the Haile Selassie government.
Where Are they Located?
Gedeo land exists in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPRG) in eastern escarpment of Rift Valley, east of Lake Abay. It is surrounded by Sidama in the north, Oromo in the east, south, and west.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Gedeo are leading coffee producers, but the peasants of the areas benefit little; they use what they sell in a single day or weeks. There is high population pressure; they have been marginalized from self-governance because the people are not educated. For instance, there is Dilla University in Gedeo land but there have been no Gedeo instructors since the end of 2005.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The great majority of Gedeo are Protestants as in other parts of southern Ethiopia. There are also Orthodox Christians and Muslims and the followers of other religions.
What Are Their Needs?
Gedeo need equality with other people; they need modern education, self governance, health facilities.
The domination of northerners in their land has forced the non-natives to leave their cities and have destroyed the people's resources. Pray for the people of Gedeo that they can rise above their circumstances.
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