Dawro in Ethiopia

Photo Source:  Communication Affairs Department 
Map Source:  Amanuel Getachew Mamo
People Name: Dawro
Country: Ethiopia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,000,000
World Population: 1,000,000
Primary Language: Dawro
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 92.00 %
Evangelicals: 53.23 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Omotic
Affinity Bloc: Horn of Africa Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Before going to the detail discussion of the topic, it is very important to make some points on the confusion surrounding the names Dawro, Dauro, Dawaro and Dawuro. Except few scholars, most have written in their documents the names Dawro, Dauro and Dawaro for Dawuro. The mistake might have been made due to the scholars' or writers' deficiency in a certain area of language skills, lack of sufficient knowledge of Dawuro culture and history, and/or other causes. In short, of these four names, the correct one is Dawuro. The name "Dawuro" represents both the land and the people.

Dawuro Zone together with the now Konta Special Wereda was formerly called Kullo Konta Awuraja of Kaffa T 'ek 'ilay Gizat and later on Kaffa Kifle Hager. While the Administrative Regions were reorganized towards the last few years of Derg Regime, Kullo Konta Awuraja was incorporated into the newly formed "Semen Omo Administrative Region". After the EPDRF government seized power and gave emphasis to ethnic groups, the name Kullo which was given by unknown body at unknown time was rejected and the name Dawuro which was favored by the natives became the name of the land and the people. Dawuro continued to be one of the Administrative Areas which formed the Derg's "Semen Omo Administrative Region" and later on "Semen Omo Zone". Following the disintegration of "Semen Omo Zone", Dawuro officially became Zone in November 2000. Since then, Dawuro has been one of the 16 Zones in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR). In 2018/2019, Dawuro began claiming to become a Region.

The 2nd biggest hydroelectric power generation dam in Ethiopia now, Gibe III, is being built on Omo river between Dawuro and Wolayita zones. The capital town of Dawuro is Tarcha. The center of Tarcha is situated at 70 14' north latitude and 370 5' east longitude and 1200m to appoximately 1450m above sea level. Tarcha is 505 km from Addis Abeba through Jimma road, and 325 km through Wolayita Sodo-Chida road from Hawassa, the Capital of SNNPR.lay

Where Are they Located?

Dawuro is estimated to lie in between 60 35' to 70 34' north latitudes and 36 04' to 37 53' east longitudes. The Gojeb and Omo rivers circumscribe Dawuro from northwest to southwest in a clockwise direction. Dawuro shares boundaries with Konta Special Wereda in west, Jimma zone (Oromiya Region) in northwest, Hadiya and Kambata-Tambaro zones in northeast, Wolayita and Gamo zones in east, and Gofa zone in southeast. Dawuro has an area of 5,225.61 km2. It has 10 Weredas, namely Esara, Kachi, Tocha, Mari Mantsa, Marak 'a, Tarcha Zuria, Gena, Zaba, Loma and Zisa, and Tarcha Town Administration.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The landscape of Dawuro is mostly mountains, plateaus, deep gorges and low land plains. Some of the mountains are Esara, Gazo, Gumati, Hayo, Atso saddle mountains, Hatsinga and Gulo. The plateau covers areas from Gora upland in Loma Wereda to the border of Konta in east-west direction and from Waka [Waca] town to the confluence of Zigna and Omo rivers in north-south direction.

The altitude of Dawuro ranges from 500 meters around the confluence of Zigna and Omo rivers to 3000 meters above sea level at Tuta in Tocha Wereda. Thus, Dawuro exhibits climatic variations from lowland to highland. This enriched Dawuro with a variety of tree species and natural vegetation/forest. For instance, Churuchura-Chabara National Park, natural forests along Gojeb and Omo rivers valleys and other bigger rivers in the zone. Dawuro is also endowed with perennial rivers whose springs are the highlands aforementioned. Some of the bigger rivers include Zigna, Dalta, Buk 'a, Mantsa, Shata, Wogayi, Dibisa, Yarda, C 'awa, Zo 'a, Kotoro, Panta, Koma, Karetsa hatsa, Mawula, Wuni and Zayiri. All these rivers and others of Dawuro are tributaries of Gojeb and Omo rivers.

Dawuro people belong to Omotic family. The language of Dawuro people is Dawurotsuwa (in Latin orthography). Since 1994/1995, Dawurotsuwa has been serving as a medium of instruction in grades 1-4 and of oral communication in the Zone's different government offices. To use Dawurotsuwa for written communication in the Zone's government offices, efforts have been made. Apart from this, Dawurotsuwa is currently being given from grades 1-12 as a subject. Again, Dawurotsuwa became a department at undergraduate level at Tarcha Campus in 2018/2019. Based on 2007 census and considering several factors, the population of Dawuro nationality at Zone level is estimated to be 936,468 in 2018/2019.

Although Dawuro has not been well known by most Ethiopian and western scholars until recently, thanks to EPRDF government and Gibe III project, its remarkable history and fascinating culture and their heritages have been well known. Among the heritages, two astonishing ones are the Great defensive Walls and the longest woodwind musical instrument in the world locally called "Dinka" (4 to 5 meters long, four in number). Dawuro had been a highly centralized powerful independent Kingdom until it was incorporated into Modern Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik in 1893.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Regarding the beliefs of Dawuro people, traditional beliefs had been widely practiced until the fall of Derg Regime. Though the exact percentage is not available, the Dawuros are now mainly the followers of Orthodox Tewahido, Protestant and Catholic religions. But this does not mean that all the followers of these religions have deep knowledge of the Bible and related church practices. Hence, it seems that the contents of the Bible and the related religious practices need to be taught in breadth and depth.

What Are Their Needs?

As regards the settlement of the Dawuro people, the majority of the people live in rural areas. Hence, their livelihood is based on mixed agricultural activities. Until some years of the EPDRF government passed, Dawuro had been in dark. No single all weather road, no hospital, only one high school, etc. Some of the major problems that still exist are low coverage of well networked all weather roads, low education coverage, poor health services (e.g. no one Referral level Hospital) and low coverage of potable water. So, Dawuro people are in need of any charitable organization in these areas.

Text Source:   Mtiku Mekuria Malimo (PhD), (17/08/2011 EC)