Konso and its People
Konso—is a sub district in Segen and it’s surrounding Peoples’ Zone in Southern Region of Ethiopia at a distance of 595 km from Addis Ababa-the capital. The landscape is stony and mountainous. With different landscape the highest elevation is 2500 while the low land is 500 meter above sea level. The climate is dry and cold with moderate temperate getting two season rain–September and October while the second is in March and April. The barren land and scanty rain sometimes no rain really affects subsistence type of agricultural activities which in turn puts the people in problems. Known as hard working people most of the population is engaged in agricultural activities and is famous for terracing farm that helps protecting soil from erosion by unexpected short period rain.
Konso people calling themselves Konsitta is part of Cushitic language speaking. Some of the works are similar with Oromo language. The people are grouped into nine clans. The nine exogamous clans named Kertita, Pasanta, Eshalayta, Sawdata, Tikisayta, Alayta, Tokmaleta, Arkamayta and Mahaleta live in 49 kebeles. These 49 kebeles consist of an estimated population of 350,000.
Konso has its own traditional social organizations stem and four main cultural institutions are known as “Palleta, Kanta, Kafa, Tolla’’. Lead by ‘’Apatinba which is called clan chief as well Poqalla Mulga and Apaa or Father’’. Konso people have their unique generational management known as ‘Xelta in which a group remaining on power for 9-18 years.
Xonsitta (Konso people) has social organization each reporting to their early families known as ‘POQLA’ used to be called King presently traditional priest. Kalla Gezahegn is the present traditional priest in Konso and the principal ritual chief. His functions as a ritual chief include blessing his people and bringing peace when disputes arise between members of clans and citizens of towns with in Konso.
the Konso lifestyle
Similar to other Ethiopians the lives of the people mainly depends up on subsistence and mixed agriculture. Indigenous Oral Knowledge to apply Landscape & Environmental Conservation enabled them to devise control mechanism and protect soil from erosion to keep soil fertility and conserving method which is mostly used by “Atanta” Farmers. Most of Konso people primarily cultivating rain fed crop farming mainly cereals of varied types while those living in the peripheral area rear domestic animals, still others use traditional bee hives to collect honey. Coffee and Chate (stimulating plant) are cash crops of Konso people that enable them to earn insignificant income.
TOURISM —Konso is registered by UNESCO AS THE 9TH HERITAGE in Ethiopia because of its natural and cultural attractions. This in turn resulted in attracting good number of visitors to the area. In this connection tourism industry is the other source to generate income to the people Konso.