Bring down your mental borders and connect with the welcoming people in the arid terrains of Central Africa, the Daasanach.
You’ll create close ties with a tribe renowned for their fighting prowess and understand why they are feared by many of their surrounding neighbours.
Region is Central Africa
Climate here is Tropical
The Daasanach are traditionally pastoralists, but in recent years have become primarily agropastoral. Famous for their battle skills, they often go on raids to obtain more cattle with their warriors proudly celebrating the number of enemies they have killed.
Traditionally, Daasanach homes are built by women. Their houses are semi-circular constructions with no interior divisions, made up of sticks and branches. Inside, you’ll find these huts very well ventilated which is essential in such a hot environment.
Like many pastoral people throughout this region of Africa, the Daasanach are a highly egalitarian society, with a social system involving age sets and clan lineages—both of which involve strong reciprocity relations.
Daasanach are mainly Christian but they preserve other ancestral beliefs.
To this day, marriage defines many of the Daasanach traditions. To be able to get married, Daasanach boys need to be circumcised, while young Daasanach girls are subjected to an excision of the clitoris. In terms of clothing, women traditionally wear long cow skin dresses and multicolored beaded necklaces, while men only wear a checkered cloth around their waist.
The Daasanach language belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. The language is notable for its large number of noun classes, irregular verb system, and implosive consonants.
The Daasanach are considered to be a thrifty group with many tribesmen and women used to creating and wearing unique jewellery made out of everything from old digital watches to metal bottle caps.
Dimi: This is the most famous Daasanach celebration. During this rite, men bless their daughters to ensure fertility and good marriage. Once he has gone through Dimi, a Daasanach man becomes an elder.
The Daasanach can be considered an example of contemporary sustainability: think about the way they recycle old materials to create new jewels or the attention and knowledge of the environment translated into their constructions, made with local materials and well thought out with respect to the conditions climatic conditions of the area. Take inspiration from these such good practices!
Photos credit: Emani Cheneke / Ethiopia
Photo credit: Huts in Dassanech village iPhoto.com/Artush