Ituu Tribe of Ethiopia: Culture and Social Values

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BY BIZUAYEHU BOGALE
The Ituu tribe in Ethiopia is a pastoralist community in West Hararge Zone of Oromia with tantalizing culture and social values.

Let me take you for an imaginary trek to the Ituu tribe which is one of the tribes in Western Harergie Zone of Oromia region with the most exotic cultures and social values. 

The Ituu are predominately pastoralists who roam from place to place in search of better pasture and water for their cattle.

They are akin to the Kereyu tribes of Oromia region who live in the Upper Awash Valley of the Great Rift Valley which bisects the Eastern and southern part of Ethiopia.

The fact that the Ituu live in the adjacent neighboring  areas of Gumbi Bordede and Anchar districts sharing common border around Awash River have made them one of the stronger tribes in the area.

Nowadays, Ituu whose livelihood is dependent on livestock rearing are mostly settled in Anchar,Gumbi Bordede and Oda bultum districts of West Hararge Zone at the Eastern flank of  Ethiopia.

Ituu households who own caravans of camels, cattle and goats are well respected and revered   by the members the community and are regarded as local officials.

As part of protecting the rights of poor pastoralists with few herds of cattle, and to ensure that they do not feel inferior or demoralized in the face of horde of livestock from well to do families, their cattle are made to graze together with those owned by rich families.

In the seasons of food stress, they spend bad days together by lending each other cows for milk with their calves.

On the other hand, Ituu are known for their massive gofere (long curly hair soaked in butter).

Their traditional dresses also make them unique. They dress like hunters, a turban underneath, a white cotton "gabi" on top and fasten traditional short swords with sharp edges known locally as giles on their waists.

During the wedding, the groom gives cattle as dowry. 

After marriage ceremony; parents, brothers, uncles and other kith and kin of the groom give him cattle as gifts.

On her wedding day, the bride gets a thin stick called Sinke as a special gift from her family. It symbolizes that “the bride has become worthy and respected woman who can manage her home".

When we come to their food habit, a porridge made of barley is a special dish for the guest of honor and camel milk is served with porridge for drinking.

Ethiopian News Agency
2023