Journal of
Philosophy and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Philos. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 0855-6660
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPC
  • Start Year: 2004
  • Published Articles: 57

Full Length Research Paper

Safuu: The indigenous Oromo moral thought

Dasta Alamayo
  • Dasta Alamayo
  • Department of Philosophy, Wollega University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 29 August 2019
  •  Accepted: 16 March 2021
  •  Published: 30 April 2021


Human beings have diligently attempted to answer the question of “how one ought to live” since their existence as a social being. Every society and every individual has attempted to answer the question in accordance with their own particular problem and social structures. Different attempts have been made, and different moral systems have been developed by Western philosophers, among which consequentialism and deontology are the most dominant ones. However, these Western moral theories failed to solve the problems of Africans. The problem of the social structures and worldviews of both Africa and West are largely different. This paper introduces and analyzes one indigenous moral system of the Oromo people of East Africa which is called Safuu. As Safuu is an indigenous moral system and not much is found about it in a written form, the researcher uses written and oral texts as his own witness- since he was born and raised in the Oromo society as sources of the necessary information. After thoroughly discussing each of them, the researcher then critically examined them and presented his final argument. It is argued that “absolute consequentialism” results in more moral problems than it solves, and that “pure deontology” is nonexistent or impossible due to teleological interpretation of its principles or its incompatibility with human nature respectively; and also that Safuu can correct the problems of these two moral theories and provide a middle ground for deontology and consequentialism.


Key words: Safuu, Oromo moral thought, Oromoo environmental ethics, Indigenous morality.