The Gada System
The Oromo Gada system is a system of generational classes that succeed each other every eight years in assuming political, military, judicial, legislative and ritual responsibilities. Each one of the eight active generation classes–beyond the three grades–has its own internal leadership and its own assembly, but the leaders of the classes become the leaders of […]
The Oromo Gada system is a system of generational classes that succeed each other every eight years in assuming political, military, judicial, legislative and ritual responsibilities. Each one of the eight active generation classes–beyond the three grades–has its own internal leadership and its own assembly, but the leaders of the classes become the leaders of the nation as a whole when their class comes to power in the middle of the life course at a stage of life called “Gada” among the Borana.
The class in power is headed by an officer known as Abba Gada or Abba Bokku in different Oromo areas. The Conference adopted 33 intangible cultural heritages including Ethiopia’s Gada System. The 11th UNESCO Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage participants have commended Ethiopia’s hospitality and tourist attractions.
Committee member and Hungarian delegation Ana Siykna also said Ethiopia’s tourist attractions are very fascinating. “We received a warm welcome and our stay was wonderful. So we are very glad of the successful organization of the event.”
She said she would stay behind after the conclusion of the conference to Mount Entoto to look the magnificent view of the Addis Ababa and to Merkato, the big African open market to buy Ethiopian coffee. Certainly, she said she would come back to Ethiopia to enjoy the hospitality and the wonderful attractions.
The Cape Verdean Shahzad Kibode also said though he knows that Ethiopia is blessed both with tangible and intangible heritages, unfortunately, he had no time to visit them.
He said: “Africa should work more on cultural tourism. It has to show the various hidden intangible tourist attractions to the world. In order to preserve and properly promote the intangible heritages, Africa has to teach its students about history, culture, traditional practices by incorporating the issue in to school curricula.”
He said the Ethiopian hospitality is so pleasant. ” I know a number of African countries but people in Ethiopia are very kind and sociable .
Kara Bortoroto, is an anthropologist who came to take part in the session. Though the time is so tight, she had a chance to visit various tourist destinations in and around Addis Ababa. She said: ” Entoto, for instance, is very fascinating place and the people are very nice and welcoming. So, this was a very good experience for me.”
Planning to visit Ethiopia, she said she would stay longer and visit not only the capital but also other places in the country.
Reflecting on the organization of the conference , she said: ” The hospitality is very welcoming and all facilitators help us in getting necessary information. They are really very nice, organized and professional.”
German UNESCO Commission delegate Benjamin Hank told this reporter that this was his first visit to Ethiopia. He said as part of the conference he had the opportunity to visit to Mount Entoto and National Museum. ” The people, the greenery, the atmosphere were very astonishing, refreshing and welcoming. Though I spent only a couple of day, I enjoyed it.”
Regarding the hospitality, he said: ” It was very nice. There was grand reception to all the delegates. Every one is very friendly and ready to assist.”
He also expressed desire to come to Ethiopia again to visit tourist destinations like Lalibella, Gondar and Bahir Dar.
Over 700 participants from 121 countries attended the five-day conference in which they assessed 49 files for inscription.
10119-LRGThe people of Oromo have a n extensive and very rich culture and tradition which have been accumulated for centuries and have been handed down from generation to generation as a source of pride of the people. The culture of the people is deeply rooted in the Gada system which is a democratic political, economic and social system. The Gada system is a democratic system that has been shaping and guiding the lives, mode of governance, socio-economic conditions, philosophical outlooks, etc., and which has enabled to ensure unity and solidarity of among the people as well as the practice of peaceful conflict resolution strategies.
The Gada system has been governing the direction and day-to-day lives of the people since the time when the people of Oromo were governing themselves independently. Presently too, the Gada system plays considerable role in guiding the political and socio-economic functions of the people. The system is structured in such a way that power is shared among different bodies to ensure check and balance. This confirms that the system is based upon the principles of equality among mankind (respecting the rights of women and children as well as outsiders. During the period when a party stays on power, it is bound by the principle of rule of law. Moreover, transfer of power is made smoothly and peacefully among parties.
The culture of the Oromo people with regard to equality and democracy remains an exemplary one to the remaining world. Thus, we hereby express that the signatures for the petition are attached here in and that Oromo people ardently upholds the inscription of the Gada system on the Representative List as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity which would demonstrate to the rest of the world that our country Ethiopia is not only the cradle of mankind but also the mother of an age-old democratic system.
Oromia State commended the contributions of various stakeholders for the registration of Gada System.
Oromia State Chief Lemma Megarsa called on citizens to strengthen effective conservation and management of state cultural and natural treasures to pass down to posterity.
At an event organized to acknowledge institutions and stakes who contributed in Gada registration process Sunday, Lemma said the inscription by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage is a great triumph to Ethiopia.
“Our forefathers had passed values of the Gada system which is a traditional system of governance developed from knowledge gained by community experience over generations. We should appreciate their efforts.”
Oromia is home to impressive biodiversity, wildlife and cultural treasures from ancient and modern times, he said, adding the state is striving to register more heritages. “The inscription is unique in that it was done at the homeland where it was conceived.”
“The values of Gada are deep-rooted in the Oromo culture. We do have shared responsibility to safeguard the system for it provide opportunity to share best experiences of ancient socio-political and traditional democratic system and tourist attraction,” he added.
According to Lemma, the next generation should learn the values of the Gada System and scholars and research institutions have responsibilities to engage in promoting and making the best out of this heritage.
State Culture and Tourism Bureau Head Lomi Bedho for her part said: “We are grateful for the recognition given to the Gada System by UNESCO.”
Now, the world had learnt that in the old days Oromo people had been using a system that regulates the political, economic, social and religious activities and dealt with issues such as conflict resolution, reparation and protecting the rights of citizens especially women, he noted.
The bureau had acknowledged Aba Geda’s, Federal and Higher learning institutions and scholars for the contributions.
According to the information from the bureau, over 200 participants took part during the acknowledging event