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


The postponed discourse in Habasha identity: Real or performance?

Ameyu, Godesso Roro
Department of Sociology and Social Work,  College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Jimma University , Oromiya – Ethiopia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Received: 24 December 2014
  •  Accepted: 10 February 2015
  •  Published: 31 March 2015


Founded on different written sources and personal accounts, this article aims to caution the taken for granted suppositions behind Habasha identity. The term Habasha is challenged that it does not really denote a unitary identity, culturally or historically. The history of Habasha, its origin and representation somehow has been written and rewritten on ideological positions that are often incompatible. Three interacted  positions come to work  that make Habasha discourse extraordinarily problematic as a) the ethnocentric assumption of Habasha uniqueness ,centrality in Africa civilization and their juxtaposition to western culture herald of western scholars or the Habasha elites claim that Ethiopia has been the defender of African freedom in public b) in this manner the adoption of the claim by the subjects either the replacement of multi-nations with  a single Habasha identity to support  a unitary system or  in daily discourse Habasha reinforces the outsider-status of non-Habashas and serves as a reminder of their exclusion from state power and social fabric of ´´Proper Ethiopia’ and c) The affirmation Habasha as a categorical identity by  its  counter- supporters despite lack of  unanimity on this term and its origin. This real problematic disposition about Habasha and the task of tracking all nations into ``Imaginary Habasha Identity’ would be fairly reinvestigated. If not ,  one could foretell its  underlying and  deleterious side effects on  the  relations between  the  patrons of Habasha and their foes by extension on  existence of the would be´´ Ethiopia´´.
Key words: Habasha, discourse, identity, real, performance, self representations, misrepresentations and ethnic exceptionalism.