BENISHANGUL-GUMUZ
ቤንሻንጉል ጉሙዝ

 Ethiopian Peacemaking Database 

In Benishangul-Gumuz, we showcase 3 reconciliation practices throughout this diverse region.

Ethnic Group: Manga

Name of Reconciliation: Manga

Themes: Elderly; conflict; family; advice; ritual

Location of Reconciliation Process: Benishangul Gumuz Region

About Manga:

Manga is a traditional reconciliation system of Gumuz people located in Benishangul Gumuz Region and has been practiced for generations and been resolving conflicts for centuries. In Gumuz conflicts arise due for different reasons. The reconciliation system to resolve those conflicts is called Manga. The name Nanga by itself means reconciliation. Elderlies play a vital role in the process of Manga. They are chosen by multiple preconditions such as age, heredity, race, social participation and so on. The elderlies have to know the history of the process deeply more than anyone else.

The Reconciliation process:

Depending on the case of the conflict the implementation of the process differs as well.   Three main cases are resolved under this process, the first one is a murder between spouse, the second one is territory conflict and the last one is conflict between spouse. We are going to see the last case for instance.

When there is a conflict between spouse the wife leaves the house and starts to live with her parents. She tells what happened between them to her parents. Her family calls out for elderlies to resolve the conflict. After looking at the case deeply the elderlies decide which one is guilty and victim. If the mistake is the wife’s, she is obliged to put her husband on her back and walk the yard till she gets tired. After doing that she will be advised by her mother and goes back to her husband. In contrary if the mistake is the husband’s he is obliged to put his wife on back and walk the yard till he gets tired. Then the elderlies tell the wife to take all household equipment out. This shows the wife is too offended and decided to get divorced. Then the elderlies slaughter a ship and spill the blood on the equipment. Then they get back together and starts their life again as a new.

Click here to read the full research paper (English)

Ethnic Group: Shainasha People

Name of Reconciliation: Nemo

Themes: Elderly; Crime; Decision Ritual

Location of Reconciliation Process: Benishangul Gumuz Region

About Nemo:

Namo is traditional reconciliation system which is practiced in Shinasha people. The elderlies that proceed this system are called Nihina. The elderlies say the process is too old and has been practiced for several generations. It is believed that any member of the community who doesn’t accept the system is not accepted.

Namo has 4 power stages depending on the number of Nihina and the power they hold. The stages are as follows;

Bura- is the first stage jury which is proceeded by one Nihina.

Nema- Nema means appeal. when there is unjust decision made by the previous stage it is taken to Nema.

Tsera- tsera is the third stage of jury containing three Nihina to proceed the process. It is the last stage of appeal.

Fala- this contains one elderly that makes decision called Qola and two non-decision-making elderlies. It gives the last decision.

The process of reconciliation starts with the victim bringing the case to the Nihina. After listing the case the Nihinas appoint another day where both parties will be present. On the appointment day both parties express their opinion and the Nihina listen to them attentively. After that the Nihina discuss the case by themselves and make fair decision and make both parties to come to one point. According to the culture to stop farther blood shade and misunderstanding there will be oath ritual. This takes place by bringing a goat and slaughtering it. After the slaughter both parties touch the blood of the goat and shake hands. This has a message of being related in blood afterwards. This points the end of the reconciliation process.

Click here to read the full research paper (English)

Ethnic Group: Shainasha People

Name of Reconciliation: Sher-Kesha

Themes: Elderly; Crème; Punishment; Morality

Location of Reconciliation Process: Benishangul Gumuz Region

About Sher-Kesha:

Sher-Kesha is a reconciliation process that is practiced in Shinasha people located in Benishangul Gumuz Region. The meaning of Sher-Kesha is getting rid of the crimes and sins we committed intentionally or unintentionally. It the process of going to elderlies to make him/herself from moral disappointment. A person punished by this system is expected to finish his sentence by not washing his body, cutting his nails, trimming his hairs and not changing his clothes.

Reconciliation Process:

In Shinasha society first the guilty goes to his Godfather to tell his bad deeds. Then the Godfather brings the guilty to river and curses him. It is believed that the curse doesn’t work unless it is done near the river. The curse takes place during rainy season. that shows his bad days are coming ahead.

As the process is done because the guilty wanted to get rid of the moral disappointment, there is no need of the guilty to present in the process. The guilty goes to the Godfather in the morning. The dresses old cloth to show how unhappy of his deeds whereas the Godfather dresses clean white clothes to show that he is a father of peace. The God father asks a lot of questions to make just decision. The decision making depends on the season. If the season is summer, it will be postponed to the coming winter so as to show the guilty what is waiting for him and remind him of the punishment that awaits ahead.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)