African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187

Full Length Research Paper

Mapping the socio-cultural landscape of the Gumuz Community of Metekel, Northwestern Ethiopia

Alemayehu Erkihun Engida
  • Alemayehu Erkihun Engida
  • Wollo University, Department of History and Heritage Management, Dessie, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 17 March 2015
  •  Accepted: 17 June 2015
  •  Published: 31 December 2015


This study critically examined the socio-cultural practices and beliefs of the Gumuz community of the Metekel such as the process of the traditional medical treatment strategies, dietaryhabits, marriage practices, and agricultural activities, social and religious institutions. These traditional practices and beliefs symbolize the societal cultures performed by members of Gumuz community and give them sense of ethno-cultural identity and used to distinguish them from other ethnic groups. The cultural practices and beliefs are parts of the social bases that the Gumuz communities use as the guiding lines for conflict resolution, ritual performance, influencing roles and social responsibilities. The finding of this study shows that the Gumuz Community are dependent on traditional medicine in which theywidely use medicinal plantsfor preventive and curative purpose of various health problems and human aliments. The indigenous medical knowledge and practices of the Gumuz determines the extent and use of the traditional medicine, the treatment strategies of the traditional healers, disease identification processes, and identification of the medicinal plants, ingredients added and administration of the medicine. Marriage arrangement, dietary habits, social and religious institutions are the unique cultural elements of the Gumuz society thatthey use for centuries to fulfill the human needs and resolve the social evils. This study was conducted in Metekel Zone, BineshangulGumuz National Regional state, Ethiopia. The Gumuz inhabited areas of Metekel was purposively selected for this study. The data was collected using key informants interview and focus group discussion. Traditional healers, community elders and local religious leaders were independently interviewed and six focus group discussions were conducted.The sources are critically collected, scrutinized and then analyzed. The validities of the sources are cross-checked one against the other.


Key words: Traditional medical practices and beliefs, marriage ceremony and dietary habits.