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On Oromo

July 16, 2013

Let me begin by introducing the Oromo people for a neophyte. The Oromo people settles at the heart of present-day Ethiopia. As per the post-1995 federated Ethiopia, Oromia — the home of the Oromos — is the largest and the most populous state. As well, Oromia is the richest of all the states, which contribute more than half of the total Ethiopian GDP. Descending from Oromia to the Oromos, the Oromo ethnic group is the largest of all 70 + ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Yet again, the language of the Oromos — Afan Oromo — is the most populous lingua franca in Ethiopia.

Although, the Oromo people constitute more than one-third of Ethiopians, however, scholarship regarding the Oromo people is still toddling and not a much-developed thing to celebrate.

Observing the recent phenomenon, saying the 1990s are the golden decade of Oromo Studies would not be a mischaracterization of the fact. In the 90s, numerous scholars — Oromo and non-Oromo alike — delve into “the Oromo question”, history, and the way forward. Vindicating my golden decade assertion, the debut issue of the Journal of Oromo Studies was published in the early 1990s. More than a dozen of books — written in multi languages — that focused on the Oromos hits publishing houses and shelved all over the globe in the same decade.

However, the general ‘Oromo Studies’ had not just commenced in the 1990s,  it precedes. As part of the larger Ethiopia Students Movement (ESM), in the 1960s and 1970s, the Journal of Oromo Students in Europe and Journal of the Union of Oromo Students in North America used to be published, respectively. Nonetheless, ‘the Oromo Question’ got mainstreamed after the late Paul Baxter published his African Affairs article ‘Ethiopia’s Unacknowledged Problem: The Oromo’, in 1978.

Crediting Baxter for his seminal work, Mohammed Hassen pointed out that “[Baxter’s ‘Ethiopia’s Unacknowledged Problem: The Oromo’ is] the first major article that brought the plight and suffering of the Oromo to the attention of academic community’. Meanwhile, Baxter continues to be one of the many scholars on ‘the Oromo Question’, in which he published more than 30 works in acclaimed Journals  — from numerous perspective.

Leaving such stories aside, this blog post is all about sharing some of the important works re the Oromo people and all the issues related with that. Without a further ado, here’re some of the books and articles that I found interesting to share — and most of them freely downloadable.



Gada the Three Approaches to the study of African Society, Asmerom Legesse

Oromia a brief Introduction, Gadaa Melbaa

The Oromo of Ethiopia: A History, 1570-1869, Mohammed Hassen

Oromia: An Introduction to the History of the Oromo, Gadaa Melbaa

Oromia Nationalism and the Ethiopian Discourse: The search for freedom and democracy, Asafa Jalata

The Ethiopian State at the crossroads: Decolonization or Disintegration, Leenco Lata

 Being and Becoming Oromo: Historical and Anthropological Enquiries, P. T. W. Baxter, Ian Hultin and Alessandro Triulzi

Oromo Democracy and indigenous African Political System, Asmerom Legesse

Oromummaa: Oromo Culture, Identity and Nationalism, Asafa Jalata

Oromia and Ethiopia: State formation and Ethno-national conflict: 1868 – 2004, Asafa Jalata

Fighting Against the Injustice of the State and Globalization Comparing the African American and Oromo Movements, Asafa Jalata

An Ancient People in the State of Menelik:  The Oromo, Great African Nation, Ayalew Kanno

Being Oromo in Kenya, Mario  Aguilar


Journal of Oromo Studies:

Volume 1, Number and 2 (1993/1994), Volume 2, Numbers 1 and 2  (1995), Volume 3, Numbers 1 and 2 (1996), Volume 4, Numbers 1 & 2 – 1997, Volume 5, Numbers 1 and 2 (1998), Volume 6, Numbers 1 and 2 (1999), Volume 7, Numbers 1 and 2 (2000), Volume 8, Numbers 1 and 2 (2001), Volume 9, Numbers 1 and 2 (2002), Volume 10, Numbers 1 and 2 (2003), Volume 11, Numbers 1 and 2 (2004), Volume 12, Numbers 1 and 2  (2005), Volume 13, Numbers 1 and 2  (2006), Volume 14, Numbers 1 and 2  (2007).

Selected Journal Articles:

The Oromo as recorded in Ethiopian literature, Ekaterina Gusarova

The Ethnogenesis of the Oromo Nation and Its Implications for Politics in Ethiopia, Edmond Keller

The Oromo Secessionism in a Broader Context of the Horn of Africa, Jan Zahorik

Ethnicity, Democratisation and Decentralization in Ethiopia: The Case of Oromia, Merera Gudina

The Struggle For Knowledge: The Case of Emergent Oromo Studies, Asafa Jalata

The Oromo in Exile: Creating Knowledge and Promoting Social Justice, Asafa Jalata

Gadaa (Oromo Democracy): An Example of Classical African Civilization, Asafa Jalata or Check out the whole Asafa Jalata archive.

Political programs of Oromo Political Parties

The Political program of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

The Political program of the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO)

The Political program of the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF)

The Political program of the Oromo Peoples Congress (OPC)


To be updated.

From → Random resources

  1. dereje permalink


  2. Reblogged this on Amsalutamirat and commented:
    Zola’s Gift!

  3. KEDIR EDAO permalink

    Thanks much for your intellectual contributions!

  4. Adnan permalink

    Nice documatery

  5. Thomas permalink

    Hi, this is an amazing bunch of resources, so thank you! However your link to “Oromo Democracy and indigenous African Political System” by Asmerom Legesse is actually just a duplicate of the link below it, which is “Oromummaa: Oromo Culture, Identity and Nationalism” by Asafa Jalata. I’m really very interested to read the former book. Please could you fix the link in the above post?

  6. Thomas permalink

    Hi, this is an amazing resource, but the link to Legesse’s “Oromo Democracy” is actually a link to Jalata’s Oromummaa. I was really disappointed ‘cos I so want to read “Oromo Democracy”. Please can you give me the pdf for it?

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