There’s nothing quite like a trip to the sun-soaked hills of Ethiopia to change your viewpoint on life. Here you’ll discover the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site belonging to the Konso, a demonstration of how their engineering prowess and traditions continue to thrive.
Region is Central Africa
Climate here is Tropical
The Konso are intensive agriculturists: using animal and human manure to preserve the soil. They also cultivate honey and rear cattle, but the little milk that is produced is made into butter or given to the children.
The Konso live across approximately 35 walled towns on hills. These are divided into wards, which may contain 20 to 80 homesteads built from straw and wood. Villages include public meeting places, where men sit during the day and where ceremonies take place.
Their society is egalitarian with generational seniority being the most important concept. After a fixed period of years, everyone is promoted simultaneously into the next grade. These principles, however, largely only apply to men.
The community practise a traditional religion centered on the worship of Waaq, also known as Wakh.
The ‘Konso Cultural Landscape’ is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition adapted to its dry hostile environment, where it has thrived for four hundred years.
The Konso language is part of the East Cushitic family, in the Lowland Group.
As a society, they are less focused on arts than others, but there are some incredible examples of wooden statue carving known as Waga.
Konso celebrations include purifying the land of sin and a series of intricate rituals.
You should never eat birds, eggs, wild animals or fish when staying with the Konso. These foods are forbidden within the community.
Photo credit. Woman from Konso tribe iStock.com/hadynyah
Photo credit. Woman and baby from Konso tribe iStock.com/hadynyah
Photo credit. Traditional pitchers and pots iStock.com/HomoCosmicos
Photo credit. Small roadside farm, Omo valley iStock.com/itpow
Photo credit. Omo Valley market iStock.com/rchphoto