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

Theorizing Namummaa: Oromo relational philosophy (Oromos’ Gift to the World)

Wake Jeo Gerbi
  • Wake Jeo Gerbi
  • Faculty of Theology at the University of Humboldt in Berlin, Germany.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 13 September 2018
  •  Accepted: 01 November 2018
  •  Published: 30 November 2018


This article attempts to theorize the concept of namummaa, Oromo relational philosophy which is complex, dynamic and has values that are connected to behavior and character of a person. Namummaa is Oromo philosophy of humanness that claims what makes a person human being, not just human, is her or his potential to grow into good and mature vertical and horizontal relationships: relationship with community in which a person lives and with human community as the whole, and relationship with Waaqa/Waaqayoo Uumaa-God the Creator and with all that is created respectively. Since there is a limitation of written resources on this particular concept namummaa, the aim of this article is to do systematic readings of available written and oral sources from primary and secondary data. To this end, the article critically used the data that is relevant to the subject under discussion and secondary data to structure and theorize the notion of Oromo relational philosophy. Based on primary and secondary data, the article uncovers that namummaa is humanity or humanness from Oromo perspective. The study articulates that namummaa is complex, connected to the strong quality of human beings, meaningful and loaded with values that govern the people’s way of life. It further argues that namummaa has been established on Oromos’ epistemology, cosmology and ontology through oral tradition and passed from generation to generation. It also examines the nature and characteristics of Oromo relational philosophy. What is more, the article uncovers that the knowledge that we have today about namummaa is fragmented due to lack of a replicated literature on Oromos’ oral tradition and other internal and external factors that have been employed by human agents, and recommends that there is a need of further research to know more how namummaa was understood and to be well understood in the current days.  


Key Words: Namummaaa, values, indigenous institutions, religious customs, social relations, moral code, peace, social justice, Waaqayoo.