Females’ Voice through Oral Poetry among Limmuu Oromo, Ethiopia

Megersa Regassa Tolasa


This article discusses about the role of Oromo oral poetry in helping girls[1] and women[2]to express their idea in their social life. It also aims to illustrate the talent of girls and women in creating and poeticizing oral poetry to display their opinion on social occurrences such as marriage ceremony, birth rite and at work place. During data collection, ethnographic methods such as observation, focus group discussions and semi-structured interview were employed. I interpreted data collected from the field through these methods. The analyzed data shows that oral poetry has a crucial role to help girls and women to express their idea in pre and post marriage respectively. Before marriage, it helps girls to display their feeling, thought and emotion concerning their future life and their friend’s social life. By using oral poetry, they advise their friends and show their devotion for each other. In post marriage, through oral poetry, women pray Waaqaa (Oromo God) for a woman who unable to bear child. The paper concludes that, oral poetry helps girls and women to express their opinion in every aspect of their life such as marriage, spiritual, and reproduction issues. Therefore, it helps them to make their voice heard in the community and enhances their creativity.

[1] Is durba in Oromo and are unmarried virgin girl.

[2] Is dubartii in Oromo and are married women.


Females’ voice, oral poetry, oral creativity, Oromo, Ethiopia

Full Text:



Adra, N. (2008). Oral poetry, women’s empowerment and literacy in Yemen. Presented at “the diversity of Yemeni poetry”, Middle East studies Association’s 42nd annual meeting, Washington, Dc, November 23, 2008.

Ahmed, U., Hina, S., & Shah, M. (2016). Understanding perceptions about the role of traditional practices regarding inheritance with relation to inheritance feud settlement: A case study of District Mardan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Pakistan. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 3(2), 1-9

Ajibade, G. O. (2005). Is there no man without penis in this land? Eroticism and performance in Yoruba nuptial songs. African Study Monographs, 26(2), 99-113.

Al Tinawi, M. (2014). The role of Sudanese rural Women’s oral folk poetry in their social life: with regard to Darfur Culture. AMARABAC, Journal of American Arabic academy for sciences and technology, (Volume 5, Number 14, pp. 151-159) (2014).

Al-Ghadeer, M. (2006). The inappropriately voice: Introducing Bedouin women’s oral poetry from the Arabian Peninsula. In D. Chatty (Ed.) (2006). Nomadic societies in the Middle East and North Africa: Entering the 21st Century. Netherlands: Drill NV Leiden.

Al-Ghadeer, M. (2012). Nomadic histories: Reflections on Bedouin women’s poetry from the Gulf Region. In Sonbol, Amira El-Azhary (Ed.) 2012. Gulf women. A&C Black.

Bauman, R. (1992). Folklore, cultural performances, and popular entertainments: A communications-centered handbook. USA: Oxford University Press.

Citamak, Y. & Yigit, H., I. (2012). From Student's Table to Teacher's Desk. International Journal of New Trends in Arts, Sports & Science Education, 1(2), 1-7.

Daniel D. (2002). Continuity and changes in the status of women: The case of Arsii Oromo living adjacent To Upper Wabe Valley (Dodola). Addis Ababa University.

Dorson, Richard M. (1963). Current folklore theories. Current anthropology 4, 93-112. Chicago: University of Chicago press.

Dudareva, M., Milovanova, I., Anisina, Y., & Shorkina, E. (2017). Mortal subtext in O.E. Mandelstam’s Poem “Oh, How We Love To Be a Hypocrite”: Folklore Reality. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 8(3), 282-290. Retrieved from http://dergipark.gov.tr/jsser/issue/32449/360858

Dudareva, M., Pogukaeva, A., Polyantseva, E., & Karpova, Y. (2017). Ships in Russian Literature: Folklore Aesthetics. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 8(3), 249-258. Retrieved from http://dergipark.gov.tr/jsser/issue/32449/360856

Ersoy, E. (2015). Assessment of Adolescent Perceptions on Parental Attitudes on Different Variables. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 3(5), 165-176.

Eshete, G. (2012). African egalitarian values and indigenous genres: A comparative approach to the functional and contextual studies of Oromo national literature in a contemporary perspective. Berlin: LIT Verlag Muster.

Eyoh, Luke. (2011). Indigenous oral poetry in Nigeria as a tool for national unity. J Communication, 2(2), 83-91.

Finnegan, R. H. (1979). Oral poetry: Its nature, significance and social context. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press.

Finnegan, R. H. (2011). Oral literature in Africa. London: Open Book Publishers.

Foley, J. M. (1988). The theory of oral composition: history and methodology. USA: Indiana University Press.

Gemechu, B., & Assefa, T. (2006). Marriage practices among the Gidda Oromo, Northern Wollega, Ethiopia. Nordic journal of Afrcan studies, 15(3), 240-255.

Gemetchu, M. (1993). Identity, Knowledge System and the Colonizing Structure.Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. London: School of Oriental and African Studies.

Haddad, Y. Y. & Ellison, B. F. (1985). Women, religion, and social change. USA: SUNY Press.

Jama, Z. M. (1994). Silent voices: The role of Somali women’s poetry in social and political Life. Oral tradition 9(1), 185-202.

Karatas, K., & Oral, B. (2015). Teachers’ perceptions on culturally responsiveness in education. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 2(2), 47-57.

Kaschula, R. (Eds.). (2001). African oral literature: Functions in contemporary contexts. Cape Town, South Africa: Ince (pty) Ltd.

Muhammad, B. B. (1996). The role of oral poetry in reshaping and constructing Sudanese history (1820-1956). Folklore Forum 27(1). Indiana University.

Okpewho, I. (1992). Oral literature: Backgrounds, character, and continuity. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Qashu, L. (2009). Arsi Oromo society viewed through its wedding music. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, (Ed.) by S. Ege, H. Aspen, B. Teferra & S. Bekele, Trondheim.

Sadiqi, F. (2003). Women, gender, and language in Morocco. Netherlands: Koninklijke brill NV, Leiden.

Schoeler, G., Vagelpohl, U. (Trns), Montgomery, J. E. (Eds.). (2006). The oral and thewritten in early Islam. USA: Rutledge.

Sims, M. C. (2005). Living folklore: An introduction to the study of people and their traditions. United States of America: Utah State University Press.

Tsega E. (2012). Integration and peace in East Africa: A history of the Oromo nation. USA: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wayessa, B. S. (2009). Socio-economic status of handicraft women among Macca Oromo of West Wallaga, Southwest Ethiopia. African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter,12(1), 1-20.

Wayessa, B. S. (2017). We are not alone: Conceptualizing people-things relationship in Oromo community in North America. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, (4)1, 34-43.

Yagi, Y. (2008). Women, abuse songs and erotic dances: Marriage ceremonies in Northern India. Senri ethnological studies, 71, 35-47.

Yurtseven, N. & Altun, S. (2015). Intercultural sensitivity in today’s global classes: Teacher candidates’ perceptions. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 2(1), 49-54.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/72


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies E-ISSN: 2149-1291

Copyright © Center for Ethnic and Cultural Studies (CECS) Publishing Inc.

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'ejecs.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank EBSCO HostCrossRef DOI – EScience Press

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Gal... ICI Journals Master Listerihplus hashtag on TwitterProQuest (@ProQuest) | Twitter