Introduction / History
The Kebena (or Qebena) people are one of the ethnic groups in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region (SNNPR). The majority live in Qebena Woreda, bordered on the south by the Wabe River which separates it from Kokir Gedebano, Muhor Na Aklil, Ezha and Cheha, on the west by Abeshge, and on the north by the Oromia Region. It was part of former Goro woreda. The capital of the woreda is Welkite town, which is surrounded by Qebena woreda.
Where Are they Located?
The Kebena nation has its own identity, dressing style, feeding habit, way of life, help culture, cooperation and dispute resolution mechanisms which are in bodies in their traditionally law known as "BobanI Geltita" and enforced by their traditional elder assembly/council called "Oget." The principle of Qebena traditional by-laws are believed to be adopted from Islamic law. The Kebena have their own separate woreda administration with 23 rural kebeles and wolkite town, which is 155 km from the national capital, Addis Ababa.
Hawasa serves as a center of regional administration. The total land area of Kebena woreda is estimated to be 28,300 square KM/hectare before predominately used for agrarian economy kebena woreda share geographic boundaries with Oromiya region from the north Edja & Chaha, Abeshighe, Gutazere-Gudebano-welenn & Muhir Aklil woredas of Guraghe zone from south west and east respectively.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Kebena have a significant part in the history of Ethiopia both in terms of religious and cultural values. They were pioneers in expanding Islamic doctrine in the southern region of the country with strong leadership of Hassen Enjamo (the king and Islamic ruler of Kebena people) during the regime of Minillik II.
What Are Their Needs?
They do have their own interesting culture that needs immediate attention to keep it in its unique manner. This long history of the people can serve both as source of original research for those in related discipline and contribute to tourism development in nationwide context.
In Kebena Woreda, there are centuries-old mosques of "Katbare" and "Zebimola", which have a great place in Islamic religion followers. Others like underground caves, waterfalls and Hassan Enjamo versus Menelik-II war battle field called "Jebdu Meda" are also potential tourist attractions in the woreda.
Mixed peasant agriculture is the main lifesyle of Kebena woreda with the production of wheat, "teff", maize, sorghum, oil seed, "enset","chat", coffee and different fruits take the dominant share. Most of the farming is rain-feed despite the presence of potential river water through the year. Mixed agriculture and animal production are practiced at a subsistence level. They need intervention to increase productivity, food self-sufficiency and commercialization.
Scripture Prayers for the Kambata in Ethiopia.