Set out to explore one of the biggest indigenous tribes of Ethiopia, the Banna. Living in the south-eastern highlands of the Omo Valley, this tribe welcomes those who are peaceful and friendly.
Uncover and understand how this tribe has survived centuries in a severely hot and dry landscape and unbind your own spirit.
Region is Central Africa
Climate here is Tropical
The Banna people are mainly farmers and breeders. Aside from pastoralism, they sometimes hunt in order to provide milk, meat, and hides for shelter and clothing. They also practice beekeeping to feed themselves and to trade honey with other tribes.
The Banna live in camps where families are organized in tents arranged in a circle. The men tend to sleep in the centre of the camp with the cattle to keep them calm and safe.
The Banna tribe have their own king. He is looked up to for leadership, health or even for rain during a drought. Some of the tribe’s elders serve beneath him to help solve other small problems in the villages. This tribe’s society consists of a system of age groups where its people may pass from one group to another by undergoing complex rituals.
Most of the Banna people follow the Muslim religion but a few thousand follow Christianity.
The African Banna people have many rituals. They paint their bodies with white chalk mixed with yellow rock, red iron ore and charcoal before performing their traditional ceremonies. Women of this tribe also wear beads in their hair, held together by a composition of butter and red soil.
The community speaks the Banna dialect of the Hamar language, one of the Omotic idioms.
This artistic tribe produces many coloured beads bracelets, necklaces and earrings to embellish themselves and to use for trade. They also make remarkable jars using dry butternut squash.
Much like their neighbours, the Hamar, this tribe also performs the bull-leaping ceremony: a ritual for boys to pass into adulthood. In it, each boy, fully naked, must jump over a number of cows lined up in a row, without falling. With success, comes the right to marry and own cattle. Women also participate in this rite by dancing and singing, encouraging the boys.
Both men and women wear very colourful earrings and bandanas made from beads. These are worn around the head, neck and below the knee for the men.
Photo credit / Mago National Park IStock.com/Artush