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African philosophy on the way: theorizing oromo philosophy and theology of land (lafi keenya lafee keenya, our land is our bones)

Author: 
Wake Jeo Gerbi
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

This article aims to explore and analyze Oromo’s philosophical and theological understandings of lafa, meaning and in English. Land issue has been a scorching issue in Oromo sociopolitical and economic situations under successive Ethiopian regimes. The chain the people’s notion of land has with their understandings of cultural identity, natural environment, economy, national identity, politics, human rights, and religion has never been explored from philosophical and theological perspectives. Commercialization of land was introduced to Oromia (Oromo country) after the Abyssinian colonizers annexed the land in the 1890s. The colonial settlers occupied vast size of Oromo’s land and propagated inflation of land price that left many Oromo with no land to call their own. This article focus on analyzing the concept of Oromo’s notion of land using the expression lafi keenya lafe keenya (our land is our bones) and lafaa fi lafi keenya lafe keenya (we live on our land and bones) as meta-concepts, the concepts that cover other ideas in conceptual framework of Oromo philosophical and theological understanding of land. To this end, the article used primary, and secondary sources to analyze the findings. The study shows that Oromo’s notion of land has holistic nature with diversified aspects of life linked to different dimensions such as ancestral, political, theological, sociological, anthropological, ecological, psychological, cultural, economic, and liberation. Through their experiences, the Oromo constructed the meanings and values of land and established friendly relations with the environment that connects them to each other as a nation, relate them to nature, universe, and Waaqayyo (God). Land is symbolized as a mother. It is referred as Haadha Morgoo (life-giver), baattuu (carrier) and obsituu (patient). Land is not only expressed as life but also as a place where people practice their culture, religion, and the place their bodies rest after death, and their ekeraa (spirit of the dead) live. It is also described as a country of the nation that they call Oromia. In order to have a better understanding of the people’s question of land and to conceptualize it in national and international contexts, the study recommends that studying Oromo indigenous knowledge is significant.

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