Study of Warra Elemo Qallu Institution: The Case oflnikka Elemo

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Addis Ababa University


Historically, the subject of this study, the Qa/lu institution, was widely used among the Oromo as important religious institution. Its significance as a religious institution, however, declined through time as the 01'01110 started to adhere to Ilell' forms of religious beliefs including Christianity and Islan1. Yet, the Qallu institution didn't weather away from the Oromo sOCiO-cllltliral life. Though its religiolls significance waned through time, it continued to survive in other dimensions, ./01' instance, as a crucial institution for conflict resolution, magical healing and peace building. It is these surviving dimensions of Qallu institutions and the ritllals accompanying them, which became the concern of my study. In order to analyze the dimensions of the Qallu and the accompanying rituals, I selected the Warra Elemo Qallu institution in West Shewa, because this Qallu trad ition represents the most untouched in terms of scholarly investigation. Of the Warra Elemo Qallu Intu itions which are four in number, this research focuses on the Inikka Elemo Qallu Institlltion. In order to obtain the necesswy data for my research. overwhelmingly I relied on qualitative method of data gathering. The qualitative data gathering tools elllployed in the study include interview, participant observation and focus group discussion. Besides, photographic and video graphic methods were IIsed to capture the ritllal performances, the scenes (selling!», and the participants. AI/ these were cormiJorated by review of secondary sources. The finding of this research is that Qa/lu as an institlltion among the Macha oj Wesl Shewa is still a living institution. In spite of the fact that the people of the area currently adhere to Christian religion, the Qallu still plays an important role in the life of the society without, however, pretending to be a substitute for the two dominant religions. The Qa/lus especially serve as key mediators in conflict and traditional healers possessing extraordinary power. The thesis is organized as fo llows: the 1'{ chapter deals with the proposal of the stlldy and background. The second and third chapters are about the works of others that are related to this culture, i.e., literature review and conceptualframe work. In this. it is believed that sufficiently er:ough works have been assessed to serve the pllrpose . Chapters four to six are the main body parts of the sludy. In these. the ritllal hOllses. genealogy of the qallus, the rituals, and the social roles of the qallu have been analyzed based on observations and interviews. Both methods were used to analyze the above mentioned points parallel to one another. The last chapter seven is devoted to summOfY, conclusion and Oromo glosswy. In this, a trial was made to sum up important pOints and Ihe outcome of the study. The qallu is the most important person in the society and his institution serves the society at best. The religions part gives people spiritual sati!>jaction. The social roles maintain peace among the society and the individuals. II Ilt'eserves Orolllll (,lIllttl'£'. It may also bring unity among the Oromo. So, it may be concluded that it is 1I /il'ing culture thai deserves to be maintained.