While researching about the Oromo tribes in Kenya, we ran into a video of Orma Oromo men engaged in friendly fighting competitions, where two men fight to see who will tackle their opponent first. Such a fighting match does also exist as a proud cultural element of the Raya Oromo, who nowadays speak Tigrigna or Amharic, which they have picked up from their neighbors in the North and West, respectively.
It’s to be noted that there are at least five Oromo tribes, in addition to the Borana and Gabra, which call Kenya home. These five tribes, including their traditional homes, are listed below (alphabetically).
These tribes have been given many names over the last century-and-half by several authors, mainly without asking the people the name refers to (the same way the derogatory name for the Oromo made its way into academic works). The reason for this mix-up was primarily as a result of the use of second-hand sources, instead of the people themselves. It’s the task of the Oromo Qeerroo to conduct the researches on its own to learn about its own people’s history and roots.
Krapf, one of the early European travelers to Central Oromia (near the Tulama-land) and the southern Oromo tribes north of the Mombasa in the Tana Delta region in the 1850’s, had studied extensively about the Oromo on both sides of the border; he had published one of the early dictionaries of Oromo – one for each Oromo dialect. The dictionary by Krapf in Kenya was with Swahili and Afan Oromo. Unlike Krapf, many Kenyans do not have any idea about the ingenious Oromos who call Kenya home, and who are also their fellow citizens, in the Tana River, Isiolo and Marsabit regions; their only exposure to ‘Oromo’ is through the Ethiopian regime’s propaganda of the violence it inflicts in southern Oromia.
Reclaiming ‘Nagaa Oromoo’
Qeerroo (of both sides of the border) is at a historic position to reclaim the lost ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ across the East African region; this historic mission will lead not only to the revival of Oromummaa in the region, but also to the renaissance of Cushitic peoples in East Africa. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ was disrupted by the invasion of Abyssinian warlords and the subsequent aggression of Abyssinian warlords – which still continues to this day. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for Oromo; the Oromo people believe that, if their neighbor is not at peace, they are not at peace. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for humans, but also for other living things and the environment. There is no peace when other living things and the environment where one thrives on and lives with – are exploited and polluted by reckless actions, like the one imposed on the Oromo Nation by Woyane thugs. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!
The Oromo Nation opposes the TPLF Ethiopian regime’s Addis Ababa Master Plan to annex the Oromo-land in Central Oromiyaa and to demographically alter the ethnic makeup of the region. Such genocidal campaigns disturb ‘Nagaa Oromoo’, and the Oromo people (old and young) will fight to regain ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ in the region.
The five tribes (in addition to the Borana and Gabra) in Kenya:
1) Munyoyaya: live in the Tana River County near Garissa, Anole and Kora, and adjacent to the Orma tribe. One can listen to “Afan Munyoyaya” here; the linguistic similarity with Afan Oromo is unmistakable at a glance; more studies need to be conducted.
2) Orma: live in the Tana River County, north of the Galana River and West of the Tana River. Linguists have studied the Orma dialect of Afan Oromo, and some dictionaries are also available.
3) Waata: live in the Tana River County (a sub-group of Orma); live near the Kipini area by the Indian Ocean (by the north of Mombasa).
4) Wardei: live in the Tana River County; though Wardeis speak mainly Somali, they believe they are Oromo. As in the case of the Raya and Wollo of northern Oromia, Wardei have adopted their neighbor’s language; however, Wardeis trace their ancestry to Oromo.
Report on Wardei in Swahili:
5) Waso Boran: live in the Isiolo County. According to the book, “Being Oromo in Kenya” by Mario Aguilar, Waso Boran have still maintained many of the cultural elements of Oromummaa.
The following map below is from early 2000’s and shows the approximate distributions of Oromo in the Ethiopian Empire and Kenya:
‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!