Rural Urban Migration as Recounted in the Oral Poetry of Borena, South Wello: A Thematic Analysis

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Addis Ababa University


Oral poetry is an improvised narrative or song on a given theme that serves to pass on a range of facts and beliefs from one generation to the other in a given society. In order to improve their life in many ways, Borena Wereda's rural people migrate to urban areas. These people move to Awash, Gewanie, Asayita, Jimma, Tebbi, Addis Ababa and other areas. As one of the social phenomena, the people have developed oral poems by which they record and recount their feelings and experiences. The study has relied on qualitative data collection methods (in-depth interview, observation, focus group discussion and tape recordings). More than 90 poems were collected and the first 44 were selected and thematically analyzed. The study takes into account the variables of Cernea and Scott's (2000) IRR model from resettlement and displacement theories. In the oral poems, most of Cernea and Scott's (2000) variables were found drawing parallel lines. Based on the methods used, the themes of the oral poetry suggest that the descriptions of urban areas before the relocation and realities found in the urban areas after migrants have migrated do not fit to their expectations. The poems that are composed to describe their feelings and expectations before they migrate portray urban areas as suitable and comfortable where jobs are abundant and money can be earned without much difficulty. The oral poems that are composed to show migrants' feelings and experiences depict urban areas as places where they have encountered difficulties. This is contradictory to what has been expected by them, before.



Oral Poetry of Borena,