Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 218

Full Length Research Paper

Vendetta case and oath based indigenous conflict management in Jawi district, Northwest Ethiopia: A symbolic ritual perspective

Abraham Genet
  • Abraham Genet
  • Department of Social Anthropology, Faculty of Social Science, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 19 March 2019
  •  Accepted: 29 April 2019
  •  Published: 31 May 2019


Study was conducted on the mitigation of vendetta case and oath based conflict management in Jawi district of northwest Ethiopia. The study was aimed at investigating the mitigation and reconciliation of vendetta and management of conflicts through an oath, from a symbolic ritual perspective. Primary data were collected by in-depth interviewing of informants and through informal conversation methods. Secondary sources reviewed from empirical researches, statistical documents and from locally conducted studies on the study theme were used to complement first hand data. The primary and secondary data were analyzed and organized thematically, cross checking the results obtained by those methods to increase validity of the research. The study found that vendetta, which has been a common phenomenon in the study area, was mitigated and resolved through an indigenous reconciliation system accompanied by a symbolic ritual. Oath involving diverse symbolic procedures was found to be another widely practiced mechanism of managing disputes in the study area. In both cases the traditional role of symbolism appeared to be crucial in terminating violence, implementing and sustaining effective reconciliation, and rebuilding harmony and peaceful coexistence in the society. The strict traditional symbolic rituals and procedures containing elements of supernatural belief conducted during reconciliation of vendetta and execution of an oath reinforce on the disputing parties a serious observance of the reconciliation. The study implied that the indigenous reconciliation of vendetta and oath based management of conflicts, together with the aid of symbolism, are effective in restoring sustainable peace and efficient in terms of finance, time, and energy.


Key words: Vendetta, oath, symbolic ritual, conflict mitigation, reconciliation, Jawi, Kolegna Agaw.