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People and Ethnic Groups

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups with their own distinct languages within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic is the official language and was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.


UNESCO awarded World Heritage status to the Konso cultural landscape which features stone-walled terraces and fortified settlements dating back 400 years. UNESCO described the landscape as “a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations”. Brings the total number of World Heritage sites in Ethiopia to 9, making it the premier in the whole of Africa. The Konso are also well-known for their unique carved, wooden grave markers called waka.




The most celebrated residents of South Omo; where you can see their interesting culture like women when age reaches about 20, silt is cut between lower lip and mouth. Over the next year, the gap is progressively stretched until it is large enough for small circular clay or wooden plate, so the plate is replaced with the larger one, the process that is repeated until eventually the gap is large enough to hold the clay plate. The larger the lip plate woman can wear, the greater her value when she is married.


Karo People is very famous for their splendid body decoration: Body Painting and Body Scarification they paint their bodies and faces with white chalk to prepare for a ceremony. The chalk is mixed with yellow rock, red iron ore and charcoal to make its color like many other Omo valley tribes. Karo women are often decorating themselves by lip piercing


The Dassanach who herd cattle live in dome-shaped houses made from a frame of branches , covered with hides. The huts have a hearth, with mats covering the floor used for sleeping. Women wear a pleated cow skin skirt and necklaces and bracelets, they are usually are married off at 17 while men are at 20. Boys are circumcised. Men wear only a checkered cloth around their waist.

Hamer People

Hamars live at the lower Omo River. Hamars originated as mixture of different tribes used to be living there. Women dress is usually very fancy. They are decorated by heavy metal bracelets, coral necklaces and shell wristlets. The traditional dress is made from sheep and goat skin ornamented with cowry shells. . They often use red soil mixed with butter to make hair braids. The richer woman is the more butter she uses. They sometimes wear aluminum shades kalles.


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