Many African states are keen on embracing their cultures. The most significant aspect of embracing cultures is it provides a sense of identity. Some of these cultures include dress code, food, and even festivals. However, these cultures vary depending on the communities. It is saddening that some countries fail to embrace their culture for fear of judgment.
For instance in Ethiopia, the Oromians were reluctant to express their culture. As such they couldn’t speak their language in public for fear of facing criticism for breaking the national identity code.
However, as the country is transitioning in politics, the Oromians are becoming comfortable and have started embracing their culture. There has been a political transition in the country since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power. Under President Abiy who himself is an Oromian, the Oromos are coming out.
Four years ago as the Oromos were about their traditional festival, 55 people died in a stampede during a clash between police and protestors. During the strike, the Oromos complained of unfair treatment they received from the former government. Although still there are tensions in the country, a lot has changed. Prime Minister Abiy has ensured to protect the rights of the Oromos. Moreover, rights groups abroad, especially in the US have been endorsing campaigns on the rights of the Oromos.
Fashion Trends In Oromo
Over the past decade, the surging political change has contributed to a growing desire for cultural pride among the Oromos. As such, Oromos have been using cultural festivals to showcase their latest fashion trends. During the Oromo Irreecha thanksgiving festivals. The Oromos dressed in a variety of breathtaking outfits.
Designing companies like Antiko are recreating designs from familiar elements. Since the Oromos love the colors black, red, and white, these designers designed these outfits in these colors. These outfits are a modernized version of pyjama, head ties, and women jackets. These clothes are styled with sticks known as siinqee. The stick symbolizes the protection of women among the Oromo communities.
Kush design also made some traditional Oromo patterns with different colors to embrace their culture. The photographer who took the pictures of these designs captured these images well enough to advocate the culture of Oromos. The man behind the camera stated that he was inspired when he saw documentaries of other people’s culture on the BBC. This is what he said:
“I was seeing other ethnic cultures being photographed and documented and not ours,” he told the BBC. Therefore, I started asking myself, why are we not promoting ours? I want us to be visible in the Horn of Africa and beyond.”
Oromo is a large ethnic group with a variety of traditions. During their festivals, millions of people usually attend. However, this year, the attendance was low. This is because of the coronavirus which has attacked countries across the globe. In an attempt o contain the virus during the festival in Addis Ababa, the Oromos wore face masks and maintained social distance.