What do you know about Kaffa? Oh Yes
The region of Kaffa represents the southwestern flank of Ethiopia. The boundaries run from north to south, east to west with near perfect geological positioning, combined with good climate and high altitude that help grow coffee plants, berry bushes and fruit trees. Abundant rainfalls with numerous brooks, rivers, small lakes, marshlands and hot springs which are common features of Kaffa region. Kaffa is lush-green all year around with plenty of grassland and extra large size bamboo trees.
All of the southwest Ethiopian region including Kaffa, occupied by garden variety of numerous ethnic groups, only separated by porous borders where inhabitants freely travel in and out of each othersʼ enclaves. They travel to local market places, buy, sell goods and services, even meet potential marriage partners.
One of the unique natures of southwestern Ethiopian peoples, commonly observable among them, had always been their inclination to maintain collective and cohesive inter ethnic relationship, where ethnic or religious conflicts are kept at manageable level.
The borders to the south of kaffa, with neighboring countries like Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan had changed. Before the arrival of European colonialists in East Africa, in the mid 1800s, southwest Ethiopia particularly Kaffa shared border contact with Uganda at the Northern tip. Once the British got hold of both Uganda and Kenya, they rearranged their colonial boundaries to suit the British interests. The border contact that existed long ago between southwest Ethiopia and Uganda was eliminated because Kenyan territory to the northwest, expanded towards South Sudan. Then Kenya became the only border nation to the south stretching westward to the eastern edge of SouthSudan. Ref. (“The Social and Constitutional Development of Kenya” By Z.A. Marsh &G.W. Kingsnorth, Cambridge University Press 1966, Introduction to the History of East Africa, Third Edition.)
Prior to 1950s, “Ugandan made” products, like, Bark Cloth were familiar items among the peoples of the southwest including Kaffa region. Beads, cowry shells and many other products also brought from the Indian Ocean coastal towns through the southern borders. Merchants often travelled through the southwest and reached Kaffa.
To the east of Kaffa, the coastal population of the Indian Ocean, had long history of trade with the interior of East Africa, merchants from the portal towns travelled
through the Bale Mountains to Borena, Konso, Mizan to Bonga. They carried goods such as fabrics, tools, weapons, Ambergris and much more. They returned to the coastal towns with ivory gold exotic furs, coffee beans, spices, bee wax, and farm animals. Ref: (“ The trade of Southern and Western Ethiopia in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries”. By Richard Pankhurst, Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Vol 3 No. 2 July 1965)
The boundaries of Kaffa to the north, historically a gateway to Northern Ethiopian peoples. Particularly the Gonga people of Gojam, centuries ago,migrated southward in revolt against heavy taxation put upon them by their rulers. The Gonga were exhausted from wars in the north and the endless military expeditions, that they were forced to join in. They left their homestead, marched southward, crossed River Abye and headed to Kaffa. Some European travelers who had visited the region written about them in their journals. Sometimes written interchangeably with the Shinasha people, though today, Shinasha people still inhabit Both in Gojam and Kaffa regions. Ref: (“On the Countries South of Abyssenia” By Dr. Charles T. Beke. London. 23rd November 1843.)
Next Topic: What became of the aboriginal peoples of Kaffa? Thanks for reading about Kaffa. A.A. October 2017 New York City