The Dorze are a small ethnic group inhabiting the Gamo Gofa Zone (formerly part of the Semien (North) Omo Zone) of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region in Ethiopia.
According to Ethnologue, the Dorze numbered 29,000 individuals (1994 census), of whom 9,910 were monolingual.
They primarily live in the southern parts of the country, though some have migrated to Addis Ababa and other regions. Many reside in villages near the cities of Chencha and Arba Minch.
They speak the Dorze language, an Omotic tongue.
Weaving is a primary profession for a number of Dorze. Traditional Dorze textiles are colourful.
They are known for their traditional weaving of huts made out of local bamboo. The huts can last up to 80 years.
Their polyphonic multi-part vocal music features a sophisticated use of hocket.
Dorze people originally adhered to traditional African religions. Most are members to the faith of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
Communities of Dorze people live on the peripheries of Addis Ababa, mostly in the Burayu and Sebeta areas. A group of Dorze people had a conflict with some Oromo people. This issue got an immediate attention among the Qeerroo who are active in Ethiopian politics in recent years. The incident occurred as the Qeerroo were organizing themselves for the reception of the Oromo Liberation Front leaders, on the 14 and 15 September—following political reform by prime minister Abiy Ahmed.
This little conflict between the Dorze and Oromo people grew to a full-blown attack on the whole population of Dorze as the Qeerroo returned from the reception. The result was a universal massacring: killing the men and children with machetes, a ruthless raping of the women in front of their husbands and children, targeting specifically Dorze (and some Gurage) people living around Addis Ababa, on the 16 and 17 September 2018. Independent media sources called the killing a case of ethnic cleansing. In the Burayu area alone, the media has reported that 23 people have been killed, more than 500 have been injured and over 15000 people have been displaced. Other sources citing data from the police have confirmed that more 60 people have been killed.
The government media claims that the attack has been stopped by the security forces. But, some people claim that the attack is still going on in a more systematic manner to completely remove the Dorze people out of the Oromo land. The killing triggered massive public protest in Addis Ababa.
As a country with more than 1000 year behind its history and heritage, there is a lot to discover about its people and culture. Ethiopia is home to nearly 80 different ethnic groups that have unique cultural traits, religious beliefs, languages and traditions.
The Ethiopian people can be grouped into 83 different tribal groupings mainly Semitic, onotic, Nio-Saharan and the Cushitic-altogether speaking 200 different languages! The Oromo and Amhara make up nearly 50% of the entire Ethiopian population and others being the Somali, Tigraway, Hadiya, Wolayta, Afar and Sidama.