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: 182

Full Length Research Paper

A commentary on Gebreslassie Kiros’s study of social stratification and marginalization in the southern nations, nationalities and people region of Ethiopia: The case of Manjo minority groups

Getachew Robo Gebremariam
  • Getachew Robo Gebremariam
  • Department of Educational Policy and Leadership, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 09 November 2020
  •  Accepted: 29 November 2020
  •  Published: 31 January 2021


This study explored the pitfalls of the Gebreslassie Kiros’s study of social stratification and marginalization in the Southern Nations Nationalities and People Region of Ethiopia. To achieve the purpose of the study, the qualitative research method was employed through semi-structured interviews, participant observation and document analysis. To that end, Six Woreda administration officials, seven educated Manjo parents, nine Manjo participants of functional adult education fellows and six non-Manjo households participated in the in-depth interviews and participant observation by employing a purposive sampling procedure. The results of the study portray that the Gebreslassie Kiros’s study lacked focus, pursued the poor ethnographic study method and came about erroneous generalizations. To this end, the paper recommends those researchers who are interested in rights of minority community to employ long term observation by spending longer time with participants at the study site to minimize distortions and to provide the researcher with the opportunity to test biases and perceptions.


Key words: Manjo, Gomaro, social stratification, marginalization, minority rights.


Ethiopia is a home for more than 80 different ethnic groups. In the country, majority of the ethnic groups  counts very diminutive composition of the entire population.  The Oromo with 34% of the total population forms the largest ethnic group composition. The Amhara are next with 27%. Many of the smaller nations have less than 10,000 people. In the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region (SNNPR), there are about 45 different minority groups ( Kaffa Zone is one of the Zones of SNNPR, comprising  Kaffecho, Chara, and Na’o as indigenous people and other ethnic members united for different reasons at different times. Even though they are not socio-culturally and economically integrated, Manjo minority  groups  are from the Kaffecho’s sub-ethnic groups (‘gumbo’ literally mean stem or clan).
In Kaffa Zone, Manjo marginalized groups are under immense challenges of exclusion, illiteracy, and poverty.
In the past century, in the kingdom of Kaffa, the artisan groups were considered all together as ‘sherare ashi yaro’ literally to mean ‘clans of the miniature people’ (Lange, 1982). However, each occupationally separate groups were endogamous and hunters. Manjo were considered to be much inferior and even sub-human (Lange, 1982). These minority groups are not only inhabitants of Kaffa zone but they are also populated in the areas in the West of Northern River Omo, among groups such as Dawuro, Sheka, and Bench (Pankhurst, 1999). The following informants’ transcription in Elias et al. (1999) survey realized that Manjos in Dawuro confront the same challenges.
‘In Dawuro socio-political organization, the bottom is occupied by Manjos. Both Manjos and craftsmen are not considered clean citizens among others. What the majority groups present as the justification for making discrimination against Manjos is that they disobey food taboos, that is, both Manjos and craftsmen are not careful in selecting edible wild animals. Consequently, those people who cooperate with these groups are considered to be polluted and therefore, everybody ignores them for his/her social acceptance sake. Manjos are invited to sing and blow the traditional musical instrument ‘hitsitsiya’ on funeral ceremony and wedding of other perceived pure clans, but they are not allowed to enter the houses of pure clans (‘malla’, ‘Dogolla’,  ‘Amhara’). Even if they attend the ceremonies they sit far apart from others’ group and eat whatever provided for them on the leaves of ‘enset’. If, unfortunately, they touch the household utensils of pures it will be either broken down or thrown out’.
The problem
The Manjo people are one of the communities residing in the Kaffa zone of SNNPR who are affected by social stratification for a long time. Manjo is the most important marginalized category inhabiting areas west of Northern Omo river, among groups such as the Kaffa, Dawuro, Sheka, and Bench.Manjos were considered mediocre and even sub-humans in these regions. Some of the socio-cultural challenges that Manjo people face are; discrimination from local association such as burial association ‘idder’, no sharing of dining utensils with non-Manjo people (even the utensils used by Manjos are no longer useful in non-Manjos’ ‘Gomaro’ house), sitting beside each other with Manjo is taboo among non-Manjo ‘Gomaro’ people, market places are not equally accommodating Manjos and local level social services are not equally accessible for Manjos even if they pay equal price to the service or good. Following  the  role model of their parents, children in many local schools are not willing to cooperate in academic and other social activities. Not only local restaurants, liquor venders and tea rooms set up around schools, but also classrooms discriminate Manjo students that they do not properly access the instruction (Yoshida, 2008; Freeman and Pankhurst, 2003; Getachew, 2011; Leikola, 2014; Bekele, 2010; Gezahegn, 2001; Lange, 1982) .
Although many governmental and non-governmental organizations are empowering Manjo community, because of the deep rooted problems for centuries, the change in livelihood and education of the Manjo community is very sluggish. The Participation of Manjos in social, political, economic as well as cultural life of the society is extremely low at all levels and in all aspects throughout the area. This has already created a wide gap between them and the rest of people in Kaffa, Sheka, Dawuro and Bench (Pankhurst, 1999). Following the higher degree of marginalization against Manjo community, many researches, graduation theses, term papers and oral traditions have been published regarding the life situations of the community. Thus, this article is aimed at criticizing Gebreslassie Kiros’s study (Gebreslassie, 2016) by re-investigating the research settings and elucidating the real life context of the target group at its indigenous members in Kaffa zone.
Objective of the study
The general objective of this study was to provide an exposition of the major pitfalls of Gebreslassie Kiros’s study published in the Global Journal of Human-Social Science: Sociology and Culture (Volume 16, Issue 6, Version 1.0, and Year, 2016).
Specific objectives
(i) To review the actual state of marginalization of Manjo minority group in Kaffa Zone.
(ii) To critique the validity of instrumentations, conceptions and generalizations in Gebresillasie Kiros’s study; dictating the findings versus the real life situations of the target population.
(iii) To criticize the focus and achievement of the Gebresillassie’s study.


To achieve the purpose of the study, the qualitative research method was employed. To that end, Six Woreda administration officials, seven educated Manjo parents, nine Manjo participants of functional adult education fellows and six non-Manjo households participated in in-depth interviews and participant observation by employing a purposive sampling procedure. Qualitative data such as detailed descriptions and transcripts in-depth were collected through participant observation and semi-structured interviews.
These data were substantiated with personal experiences and insights, and document analysis. Concurrently, Gebreslassie Kiros’s research design shortcomings were mitigated by the design seems to flow from the proposed research problem, theoretical framework, literature review, and lived experiences. The Gebreslassie’s article raises a very important issue about the protection of the rights of Manjo minority community. However, methodological procedures of his study completely violate the principles of qualitative research to be conducted on such ethnographic theme. The participant observation, narrative and/or grounded theory design may result in meeting the aims of such study. On account of the scarcity of qualitative data collected, his analyses were inadequate and more subjective.


The major thematic  issues incorporated in both in-depth interviews (semi-structured interviews) and informal interviews during participant observation, including probing questions were: What are the life plights of Manjo community in Kaffa Zone? What are the major forms of discrimination against Manjo community in your area? Where do you think the degree of discrimination is more practiced in your locality? How does the lowly socioeconomic status of Manjo Community affect their education?
Life plights of Manjo community in Kaffa Zone 
The results of data analyses and interpretations from the participant observation and indepth interviews portray followings to be some of the life challenges of Manjo community: variation of beliefs of Gomaros and Manjos; paganism is strange for most class of the society; feeding habits, dressing style and non-hygienic mode of life among Manjos is highly rejected by remainder part of the society; fatalism (feeling of powerlessness against fate: an attitude of resignation and passivity that results from the belief that people are powerless against fate) and hopelessness are great challenges standing in front of Manjo fellows; lack of awareness about the value of education; most Manjos do not want to socialize themselves with other parts of the society); the problems of social services such as grinding mill, electricity, health and clean water; primitive farming and lack of productive asset and agricultural information having influence on the livelihood strategy of households and forcing them into off farm activity to fill seasonal food shortage that ranges from two to six months.
The state of marginalization of manjos
Social marginalization
The Manjos are the most excluded groups in Kaffa zone. They are the ostracized, disadvantaged and culturally demoralized minority in the region because of the discrimination against the group due to their eating habits and residence. It becomes difficult to assume the extent to which they are segregated in all aspects of the society in the region (Getaneh, 2007). The state of the discrimination against the Manjos is greater in Kaffa zone than in Dawuro and Sheka zones. The Manjos have their own sub-clans (Pankhurst, 2001). Due to negative perceptions ‘Gomaros’, majority group, consider Manjos as cursed and polluting people. Even those people who have been beaten by a Manjo during the fight between the two parties lack acceptance in the society, those who sit where a Manjo sit believed to get hard skin rash and other wrath of God will happen to appear on their bodies. This is considered to be justification among ‘Gomaros’ , majority group, Dawuros and Sheka people for the discrimination against Manjos, pushed away to the edge and live in the pockets of the region, even though it is not an adequate reason and rational in respect to humanity.
However, what Gebreslassie (2016) has indicated in the analysis of social stratification is utterly erroneous.  Although a large number of researchers, historians and anthropologists (Behailu and Data, 2001; Gezahegn, 2001; Lange, 1982; Pankhurst, 2001) documented that Malla, Wogach’e, Degela, Gitamana, Mana and Manjo have labeled to respectively occupy from top to bottom social strata in Dawro people, he explains that the social rank of Manjo minority group is the lowest of all in Southern Nation Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR). Despite the Gebreslassie’s narratives, surprisingly, there are some localities in SNNPR where the Manjos’ lowly humankind labeling is not perceptible. In general, he has failed to notice three basic things.
The first oversight of Gebresillassie is missing the majority-minority contexts of South Western Ethiopia. He did not consider the name of majority groups vary in different sub-regions of SNNPR in general and Dawro, Kaffa and Sheka zones in particular. Due to this blunder he articulated that ‘Malla’ is the name of the majority ethnic group in some parts of the SNNPR. However, the data portrays ‘Malla’ is the local majority group and ‘Hillancha’ to be low-status group among Dawro people (Barata, 2012). Similarly, the majority group in Kaffa zone is known as ‘Gomaro’ and the minority group is ‘Manjo’ (Lange, 1982; Gezahegn, 2001; Dagmawi, 2005; Behailu and Bekele, 2010; Yoshida, 2008). Likewise, ‘Shekacho’ is the majority group and ‘Kejo’ is the minority group in Sheka zone (Freeman and Pankhurst, 2003).
The second major blunder of Gebreslassie is the ancestry identification quandary. Several studies have explored that the Manjos are one of the clan (sub-ethnic group) of Kaffecho people and the first ruler of the Kingdom of Kaffa has been from Manjo clan (Freeman and Pankhurst, 2003; Getachew, 2011; Leikola, 2014; Bekele, 2010; Gezahegn, 2001; Lange, 1982). However, he incorrectly equates the distribution and the degree of marginalization across SNNPR. Since he considered the Manjo minority groups are indigenous people in Dawro and Konta  areas,  he compares  this  group  with  Malla, Wogach’e, Degela, Gitamana, and Mana. The result of this assumption led him to compare incomparable segments of the society.  That is, because the Manjos  are  not native people in Dawro and Konta areas, in any case,  they may become smaller in number in those areas. The third major flaw of Gebreslassie’s narratives is mixing up the research participants’ excerpts, researchers’ insights and findings.  For example, below he presents the direct citation from Yoshida (2008) and Freeman (2016) about the attitude of non-Manjo community towards the Manjo groups only from the perspective of the non-Manjo majority groups.
"The Manja people eat unclean and filthy food, such as the meat of religiously prohibited animals likes Savanna Monkey, Baboon, Colobus, Wild Boar, and dead animals. They also do have short and very curly hair. They are people who never give a care about hygiene, and do not wash their clothes and body and smell unpleasant (in some cases due to skin disease). The Manja are wicked and liars, they are not interested in education, so that they are ignorant and lazy. They are extravagant and thieving and lack sense of majority" (Yoshida 2008:50 Freeman, 2016: 6).
This kind of “One-Size-Fits-All” description about a particular individual or group that is not true of practically all Manjos which is overly generic may result in poor conclusions by readers and researchers. These kinds of discussions in the body of his article led him to hastily conclude without an empirical investigation. Experience with the target groups at Bitta and Gesha Woredas depict that there are a number of Manjo farmers that live on better livelihood than ‘Gomaro’, non-Manjo farmers (Getachew, 2013).
Economic marginalization
In the past, the Kingdom of Kaffa Manjos had no right to own farmland. However, during the Derg regime, the proclamation ‘land to tiller’ issued in 1974 that advocated the Manjos right to land was not only economic rather its repercussions were felt deep in the social arena.  That is why it is often argued to be an enduring legacy of the regime. During the regime, Manjos as part and parcel of the effort aimed at paving the ground for better social interaction and involve themselves in the peasant and other associations (Dagmawi, 2005).
According to Getaneh (2007), the Manjos are known to be skilled hunters using traps, ‘ollo’, hunting nets, ‘dabbo’, and spear, ‘gino’. In the past, in Kaffa, hunting the wild animals that damage crops was highly esteemed by the nobility in the farmers’ community.  Therefore, Manjos are usually employed to do so and take meat and hide of the hunted animal. Obviously, the Manjos’ household subsistence completely depends on the in-forest resources; hunting wild animals, and producing and selling firewood, charcoal and honey. In the house of Manjos the income from agriculture is almost nil, except in the case of some exemplar Manjo farmers. This is not because they are lazy, but because they are discouraged since they do not have market access if they produce surplus; secondly, they lack  due attention to agricultural products since they do not consider grains as sufficient to satisfy needs like meat; and thirdly they own little or no farm land.
In Manjos’ community, women play a vital role in revenue generation. Most of the women are engaged in production and selling of charcoal and firewood, especially those who dwell in the jungle near the town. Some of them are busy making pots. These women are known as ‘qejjechena’o’, the potters. Whatever the produce is, Manjos are not allowed to sell their produces at the center of the market. Male Manjos are skillful tree climbers; they make and hang hives. Accordingly, they are known suppliers of honey to Bonga and the rest of Woreda market places. However, the marketplaces are not equally accommodating Manjos’ with others’ produces. Manjos products are not equally accepted by Gomaro buyers; even though, they want to use it. The goods provided by Manjos are highly undermined by local purchasers in order to discourage them from a fair bargaining of the prices according to the present market price. After all, they obliged to sell at a very lower price than its actual market price. This way both males and females make money for their survival, but live in extreme poverty (AAE, 2008).
Most Manjos are landless not because they do not want to farm. It is usually because they are evicted for not repaying the systematically extended loans (either in kind or in cash) by local speculators or exploiters. Hence, they are pushed towards the jungles struggling with wild animals for survival (AAE, 2008). The Manjos provide the ‘Gomaros’, majority group, with agricultural services such as weeding and clearing the farmlands. They are remunerated in kind, through the provision of drinks and food. Moreover, ‘Gomaros’ , majority group, often ask Manjos to climb trees and hang peas and beans to dry. The Manjo woman provide bundles of firewood to Gomaro women to exchange with ‘qocco’, ‘enset’ product, especially called as ‘duuppo’, which is not prepared properly and has unpleasant odor (Gezahegn, 2001).
In Kaffa zone, Manjos cannot be members of agricultural association of Gomaro farmers; such as ‘debo’ and ‘wonfel’. In addition to this, they are usually wandering in the search of dense forest. Due to these and other causes, Manjos could not get enough money for their household income. Even if they are capable of earning enough money like ‘Gomaros’, majority group,, they cannot join rotating saving and credit members, ‘iqqub’ (Van Haltern, 1996).
However, according to Yoshida (2008) in her research, ‘searching for a way out of social Discrimination’, found out is   contradictory  with  the  findings of Action Aid Ethiopia (AAE, 2008) and Gezahegn (2001). Her finding is stated as:
‘Today the Manjo have stopped hunting and eating wild animals, which are practices considered to be reasons for the discrimination. The Manjos have just as many livestock (such as, cows, bulls, goats, sheep, fowl, and horses) as the Kaffa and eat their meat and dairy products. Since the Manjos have begun wearing clothes and shoes sold in boutiques, they have become indistinguishable from the Kaffa in terms of their appearance. In this respect, the Manjo, who are no longer hunters and poor farmers, have achieved almost the same economic standard as the Kaffa, despite of being discriminated against socially (p50)’.
Not only Gebressilassie’s (2016) study, but also Yoshida’s (2008) investigation highly overstated that the Majority of Manjos’ livelihood has improved in a drastic way. Very diminutive, with exceptional causes of some exemplar Manjo farmers by chance owned a large farm land and able to cultivate surplus produces and own land segments for rearing animals. Manjos living in Bitta and Gesha Woredas, for instance, are good exemplars and well known for their economic success with coffee cultivation. On top of this, Ahmed (2009) found out that Manjos are highly engaged in primary economic activities, such as production and provision of firewood, charcoal, honey, household utensils and furniture. These economic activities are usually characterized by low income generation because if a Manjo owns a hotel or a bar, no non-Manjo would buy or eat prepared foods and drinks.
Cultural marginalization
Manjos are the most culturally ostracized communities. Even though they speak the same language, ‘Kafi noono’, with the rest of Kaffechos, Manjos are not considered to be indigenous people. In Kaffecho culture, the first four days starting from the death of an old man, the mourning is accompanied and celebrated by traditional songs (Bekele, 2010). The mourning songs of males that is accompanied by attractive dance is said to be ‘hichoo’, whereas the songs of females is known as ‘gommo’. In this occasion, Manjos join neither male’s nor female’s group, rather they can form their own group and usually sing outside of the fence or gateway. Manjos’ song is considered to be marked for mourning celebration, for this they are paid back as compensation in kind; that is,  provision of drinks ‘borde’, local beer and foods, ‘qocco’ or ‘nifro’ in large quantity. However, as far as the author’s knowledge from life experience is concerned, Manjos are not allowed to participate in digging the grave for Gomaro’s burial.  They are also not allowed to carry the corpse of a Gomaros on trip to burial celebration. In all  the  procession of mourning, they sitseparately far apart from others’ group.
Religious marginalization
The complex and multifaceted religious expressions of the Kaffecho people can neither be fully understood nor explained without a historical analysis. ‘Gomaros’ , majority group, believe that Manjos are not saint and could not sacrifice or make offering to harvest god, ‘ qoollo’ or sprit of the land, ‘eqqo’. Even in the past decades, they are not allowed to enter the Orthodox Church. These days, there is a trend of baptisation of the Manjos in some cases so that they can enter the church.
Many of the justifications for religious discrimination against the Manjos is frequently associated with Kaffa tradition with dogs on the genealogical basis of the legend. With regard to this testimonial, one of the Gomaro informants of Lange (1982:265) informed him that:
‘An unmarried daughter of a Manjo secretly had sexual intercourse with a dog. She became pregnant and her large stomach was seen by her father, who then told his servants throw her in the valley. They did it. However, she was not killed. In fact, she was not even hurt. She merely sat in the valley by a river and gave birth eventually to a boy-child by the bank of the river. She collected worms from the river side as nourishment for herself and her son. Upon maturing, her son hunted wild pigs, monkeys and baboons in the forest. He ate all which he killed and also fed his mother with the result of his hunts. After some time, they both left the valley and traveled a long way before reaching an inhabited area where they settled. The son did not change his habit of hunting and eating all the wild animals he hunted and killed. People saw this and did not like it; they told him and his mother to stay out their houses and live in the forest. Then the woman and her son were chased into the forest by the people. This is how Majos were created’.
On top of this, Lange (1982) also extracted another common myth used by the Kaffecho people to reveal that the Manjos are religiously impure and should not reach any ritual occasions. That is, ‘it was the punishment of God as the Manjo do not adhere to Christianity and its food taboos. God forced them on exile to jungle and eat unclean foods. This punishment was to last for eight thousand years’ (p182).
The regime of Derg has thrown a little light on the life of Manjos community. That was by the declaration of the amputation of the religious discrimination. As a result, the Orthodox Church has started to make mass baptization for Manjos and they from that moment started to enter the church. In conformity with the tradition of giving a new name upon baptism the Manjos were given new names by the Orthodox Church priests. Thus, it is not uncommon to find a  contemporarily baptized Manjos having two names. Manjos even started to enter the house of ‘Gomaros’, and shared utensils following their baptism. Furthermore, they were made to join the burial associations, ‘idder’, of their neighbor. These all changes were not heartedly accepted by some ‘Gomaros’, dominant group, who did for the fear of government punishment and they considered it as a curse incurred by their sins (Dagmawi, 2005).
Later, following the fall of Derg regime, the EPRDF declared the right of beliefs and most Manjos go back to their position, abandoning unaccepted association of the Christian group.  The Orthodox Christianity has a long history in Kaffa and shares a traditional conservative outlook with local religious beliefs. The church has therefore made no attempt to improve the social position of the marginalized minorities. Local Catholic and Protestant leaders have tried to integrate these groups into the social and religious activities of other Kaffechos.  However, the construction by catholic and protestant leaders of separate chapels for Manjos and Mannos respectively has not led to end their isolation, rather the Catholic and Protestant Christianity have come to be viewed as the religions of the Manjo and Manno, local people especially called them as, ‘Manji kittinno’ and ‘Maanne kittinno’, respectively (Gezahegn, 2001). Moreover, Manjos are not allowed to be members of the social and religious groups such as ‘mahbero’, rotating Sabbath day group.
In Kaffa, it is a custom that they convey their good and bad feelings, and grievances through songs, particularly such messages are conveyed during Epiphany. Epiphany is the most important ritual day in Kaffa; such a day and Wedding give opportunities to the people to breath their heartily feelings for or against their neighbors, friends, elders or siblings (Bekele, 2010). However, Manjos by no means cooperate and attend these instances.
The effects of religious discrimination bring social cleavage and tension as well as feeling of bitterness and shame which may reduce their participation in social lives. The teasing is often in the form of name calling; ‘bakuto’, to mean the eaters of dead and un-slaughtered meat of animals. Perhaps the most basic offender is the ‘we-the chosen people’ attitude that has been a strong influence in most traditional religions. It consists of this kind of thought pattern: ‘we the believers are good and right; and those who do not share our convictions and the belief in our God are outsiders, sinners, who should either be changed so as to agree with us or should be avoided or destroyed’ (Thomas, 1965:51). Parents frequently foster suspicious of, and avoidance of people of other religions and Manjo children from pagan family, for instance, by offering their children, such advice as ‘we don’t care with whom you date, but do not get too friendly with any Manjo child’. The prejudice is further cultivated when pupils overhear their parents, teachers, or other adults making such a comment. In this instance, the school becomes dreadful for the Manjo students.
Oral tradition based marginalization
Kaffa societies were stratified in pre-20th century, on the basis of  beliefs, ownership and occupation the people engaged in; slave and land owners, that is, ‘ogooge yaroo’ or ‘ooge ashi yaroo’,(clan of the great people), or ‘de’e ashi yaroo’,(clans of good people), serfs, that is, ‘giishi yaroo’, (clans of little people), ‘sheraare ashi yaroo’,(clans of the thin people or clans of simple people), ‘caabbero’(‘caabbe yaroo’) or mawo, occupational castes,, that is, ‘gonde ashi yaroo’(clans of bad people) and slaves,‘guuno’ for men and ‘gonnee’ for woman (Lange,1982). By tradition, ‘Gomaros’ , majority group, consider it polluting for a Manjo to touch them and food utensils, shake hands, enter to their house, and even walking on their farm fields. Supporting this idea, Mesfin (2005 as cited by Ahmed) writes the following;
‘Traditionally, the Manjos were considered impure, dirty and regarded and treated as sub-human and un- touchable. The Manjos were not allowed to enter inside the house of Kaffecho, and no Kaffecho would ever touch a Manjo. Anything touched by the Manjo was unclean and food from them was therefore, not to be eaten, especially meat. Marriage between a Manjo and Kaffecho is unthinkable. Such harmful traditional practices are still prevalent though gradual improvement is flourishing’ (p12).
Behailu and Data (2001), report that intermarriage between the Manjo and the farmers has been forbidden, and still considered impossible. Moreover, the local nonManjo people maintained the belief that Manjos’ low social status is cultural and appropriate one. This may be because the ‘Gomaros’ , majority group, show their dominance and maintenance of the bad culture of exclusion in the form of the self aggrandizement or the subservience of Manjo enabled them to squeeze what was available on it (Dagmawi, 2005).
Traditionally, some ‘Gomaros’, believe that a baby suckles from a Manjo mother lives longer and becomes strong. Yet, in this instance, the Manjo woman sits outside the house near the fence (Dagmawi, 2005). That is, many Manjo complaints express their grievances in such a way that their dogs enjoy more communal life with ‘Gomaros’, than themselves. Truly speaking, Manjos’ dogs can freely enter and come out of the house of the ‘Gomaros’, which is hardly possible for Manjos themselves.
Educational system based marginalization
Manjos are, generally, under educated segment of the Kaffa society. For this reason, they do not take part in academic affairs at the school. On top of this, Ahmed (2009) revealed that in Decha Woreda-in Chiri primary school, the school does not welcome Manjo parents to participate in matters regarding their children’s education; even they are not engaged in signing for that their children could borrow textbooks. One of his Manjo respondents bitterly informed him that, Manjo pupils invite Gomaro parents buying a liter of ‘tej’ so that they would sign for them as a substitute of their parents.
The following excerpts taken from two Manjo teacher participants explore that there are signs of manifestation of discrimination against educated Manjos. The first case happened a few years back over a Manjo teacher:
‘… After a Manjo teacher’s transfer from Bitta Woreda to Chena Woreda, the Woreda education office assigned him to Kulish Mulu primary school, but the school principal refused to welcome the teacher by reporting that his staff is full. Then, the next day the office re-assigned the teacher to Donga primary school that is farther deep inside from the capital of Woreda. Before his arrival at the school the information preceded him to Donga kebele and the kebele dwellers became hot and said ‘are we garbage recipients?, if he came by first assignment, we would tolerate, but the office turned its face to us as an alternative’. Some people from the kebele Administrative council came to the school principal and warned him about the existence of his newcomer teacher. The principal immediately reported to WOE about the insecurity of the life of the teacher. Later, WOE assigned him to Chena primary school.  While he was teaching in this school there were many grievances against the teacher from his pupils. Once upon a time, during the environmental science lesson the Manjo teacher asked his students to mention the food items rich in protein. Students raised their hands up to respond, he gave chance to some students and respondents listed the food items such as meat of colobus monkey (Gureza), Savanna monkey (Tota), wild boar (pig), porcupine and dead animals. The teacher never expected such responses from the class and he got nervous, walked out and accused the class to the school principal. The principal gathered the class and asked about the accusation of the teacher. Many students commented that ‘knowing his inferiority, the teacher has been doing wrong deeds, he wishes to dominate over us, we are angry with him for bossing us around!’. Then, the principal advised the students and sent them to class without punishment. Since that day onwards, he left that class and he had quarrel with other sections he was teaching. Finally, he asked the WOE to transfer him to another elementary school, meanwhile, WOE transferred him to Kocha Wacha primary school and he taught a year. Currently, the teacher joined Woreda cabinet members and is working in Woreda Admistrative council’.
Case 2. This case happened in Saylem Woreda: There was a Manjo teacher, graduate of Bonga College of teachers  education  hired  in  2010 with me. The  Zonal education department assigned both of us and we went to Saylem Woreda. Before our arrival to the school where we were newly assigned to, the school community heard about the assignment of a new Manjo teacher to their school. After a week we went down to the school from the capital of Woreda; as soon as we got to the school compound, old staff teachers kept silent and started to thoroughly observe our faces to identify who the Manjo is. They met their aim even before lunch time. Those days, the old staff was not in ease to invite us on coffee ceremony. After a few days they started to separately invite us (non-Manjo teachers) for coffee. It was a lesson for Manjo teacher to not reach any one’s house during the coffee ceremony and meal time. However, one day the Manjo teacher unknowingly came to a house where we, non-Manjo teachers, gathered for  coffee; he got shaken because it was not the non-Manjo teachers’ desire to invite him in for such occasions but everybody unwillingly invited him to enter and drink coffee; he did so. In past times, it is a custom that during coffee ceremony coffee poured into the cup on cup plate and then passed and distributed one by one. However, that day the owner of the house, an unfriendly woman, distributed empty cup to each drinker and then poured the coffee into cup on hand by turning around each person to avoid contamination by exchange of cup since Manjos are assumed to be ritual pollutants. Finally, the woman separately puts the cup used by the Manjo teacher to provide for him incase he comes back in the future.  We had no problem; we eat and chew khat together, for this reason many non-Manjo colleagues hate me because they assume that I am an opponent of their tradition. Many people need to be brain washed including some literates who refuse equality.
The influence of the socio-economic factors on Manjo children’s education
Socioeconomic stratification has important consequences on educational participation in every society.  Often, levels of racial and socioeconomic stratification in Kaffa zone tend to be connected to lower rate of enrollment of Manjo children at all educational levels. The socioeconomic status or social class can be measured in a number of different ways. Most commonly used measures are: father’s education, occupation, or income, either separately or together, and household items, such as possession of a color television set. Sometimes, mother’s education or occupation is used, especially in combination with father’s characteristics. Whatever the measure, however, socioeconomic status is positively correlated with both educational participation and achievement. The higher the parent’s socio-economic status the more probably the child enrolled at right school age and attend schooling without  dropout; and the higher a  student’s socioeconomic status, the greater his/her educational accomplishment is likely to be (Parelius and Parelius, 1978).  
Sociocultural factors hampering Manjo minority education
Early marriage is one of the harmful sociocultural beliefs in underdeveloped nations. Since the girl is too young and definitely uneducated to even know her rights or what is good for her, she is in no position to make any decisions about her education. Many studies, for instance, revealed that in Somalia, parents encourage early marriage and attention is paid to their physical maturity than psychological makeup. Similarly, in Tanzania, the society considers adolescent girls as something that is going to decay unless used as soon as it ripe (UNESCO, 1983).
In Ethiopia, according to Mahdere (2006) early marriage is practiced for two major reasons: Social reasons- fear for abduction, fear for the female children not doing well in school, fear for ostracization and stigmatization by the society, protecting virginity (premarital sex), and unwanted pregnancy, urge to conform to tradition, fear of losing the bride price and relation with unwanted family, cementing kinship ties; economic reasons- feeling obliged to secure child’s future before they get weak or die, future reciprocal assistance, reduction of financial dependency of children, linkage to a family who is financially better off or of better “social standing".
As a result, early marriage contributes to the low enrolment and high dropout rates of girls in Ethiopia. In most parts of the country, the importance of girls' education is under -rated on the part of parents and the community, particularly in rural areas where majority of the Ethiopian population reside. Married girls, who would like to continue their schooling, are often prevented from doing so. High levels of adult illiteracy rates, with only one in four adults in rural areas areable to read and write, and often abject poverty exacerbate the situation. As a result, majority of the girls in Ethiopia are deprived of their basic right to education. The fear of gossip and rumors play a powerful role in early marriage decisions in different societies in Ethiopia (http: //  
Child labor demand
In most places in Kaffa zone, children are active workers in the household economy. Boys herd animals, keep with harvest or do odd jobs to earn a little income. Girls plant and cultivate alongside their mothers, take care of their younger siblings, cook, and carry water and fire wood and perform other daily activities that are essential for family survival. If children go to school, the family loses their work (opportunity cost  of  the  child  labor). In poor families, such a loss can threaten survival (Mary, 1992). However, when making differentiation between the two sexes, girls are more likely to work and work longer hours, which exhibits low school enrollment rates (Tamiru, 2014).
Fear of abduction
In Manjo community, the most prevalent harmful tradition is marriage by abduction. Regarding this, Ahmed (2007) suggests that the fear of abduction is the most important educational challenge among the Manjo girls. The fear coupled with the long distance journey through dense forest from home to school obliged many Manjo female students to dropout of school. Female dropout rates in Ethiopia's primary schools are extremely high. The conventional view of illiteracy is that it is closely linked to poverty. While that is certainly true, there are numerous other factors responsible for the low levels of literacy, especially among females, and it is only by understanding the impact of these other factors one can treat the problems.
Polygamous marriage
Currently, Manjo men reluctantly stopped hunting because of the government prohibition and destruction of the forest, home of wild animals. As a result, Manjo men are engaged in charcoal burning and some in fire wood production and selling, woodwork and subsistence farming as complementary farms of livelihood. The women and children collect firewood and sell it, that is a major source of household income for Manjos. Most of the household responsibilities saddle on shoulders of the women. Thus, the Manjo man believes that the more the number of the wives the more cash   his family earns daily.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Manjo men promote polygamous marriage (Dea, 1997). Therefore, a Manjo marries two or more girls before or at school age. Married Manjo girls, on one hand, lack opportunities for schooling.
Contrary to current studies, Tesfaye (2009) found out that Polygamous marriage, on the other hand, is associated with more chance of a child enrollment. Polygamous marriage is highly characterized by the large family size because of the number of children from each wife. His findings  reveal that a household with more members tend to be willing to enroll their children in school as their labor requirements will  be taken care of by extended family members or others living within the family.
In Kaffecho society, Manjos are known to have extra wives (Dagmawi, 2005). Subsequently, a Manjo man marries two or more girls even before their adolescent age. These girls have no chance of enrolling in school after marriage.
Gender role socialization and stereotyping
Gender role socialization is one of the most sociocultural factors that hinder the enrollment of girls by minimizing the role of males at home and saddling most household works on the shoulder of girls, imparting the inferiority of girls in different activities. Among the socializing agents, family stands first. In this regard, the instruction of gender role has a great significance. They consider their male children as brave, expressive, self confident, where as their daughters as shy, hushed, and dependent (Ziyn, 2004). Similarly, the attitude of parents towards the importance of education for females is determined by what the society expects of the roles of the females and males.


The major forms of exclusion against Manjo minority groups are social, economic, cultural (traditional, religious) and educational system based marginalization. These forms of exclusions, in turn, result in meager household income, dependence of revenue on poor and routine works and lack of engagement in modern agricultural activities, poor educational backgrounds and lower socioeconomic status among the Manjo society. This study revealed that the Gebreslassie Kiros’s study has some shortcomings in its lack of focus, inappropriate methodology in light of the research purpose, poor interaction and observation with research participants (qualitative research from the distance or without contact with research participants and research site).


The author has not declared any conflict of interests.


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