Perceptions, Practices and Challenges of Oromo Gabbara Marriage System: The Case of Some Selected Woredas of Bale and West Arsi Zones

Muktar Ahmed


The main objective of this study was to investigate perceptions, practices and Challenges of Oromo Gabbaraa Marriage system in the case of some selected woredas of Bale zone and West Arsi zone. To meet the objectives, ethnography research design was mainly employed. A total of 12 kebeles (three kebeles from each woreda) were selected purposively. In the study, 60 couples and 36 elders were involved using snowball sampling technique, and 8 Gadaa leaders as well as 12 religious leaders were chosen purposively. In general, 116 participants were involved in the study. Four instruments of data collection (interview, FGD and non-participant observation) were used. Through semi-structured interview and focused group discussion, the data were collected from elders, couples, Gada leaders and religious leaders.  Four wedding ceremonies through participant observation were also observed. Then, the collected data were analyzed and discussed qualitatively under different headings according to their concepts. The results show that Gada leaders, religious leaders, elders and couples have negative perceptions towards the cultural, social, economic, and psychological impacts of this marriage system since it deviates from cultural outlook. The study also shows that gabbara marriage is being practiced mostly in the study area with high dowries’. As the results indicate, as dowry has been being increased over time, it is increasing migration (which is a global issue) of youngsters for collecting money from abroad, particularly, in Shalla and Shashemene districts. As a result, it has been affecting negatively the life of couples socially, culturally, and economically. Moreover, couples and their family and society as a whole have been being challenged in different aspects by the high amount of gabbara. Hence, to minimize this adapted and deviated dowry practices, the concerned stake holders like cultural and tourism officers and Gada leaders, religious leaders, elders and youngsters should work hand-in-hand.

Key terms: Perceptions, Practices, Challenges, Gabbaraa, Marriage system, Oromo

DOI: 10.7176/JCSD/48-04

Publication date:May 31st 2019

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