Parts in parcel of Kaffa 

Kaffa, as part of southwestern Ethiopia, its population made up of composite of branches from many other groups mirrored in each individual person’s cluster identity. 

This cluster identity based on a unique system of cognomen, passed on from previous generation to the next, help keep track of each person’s ancestral roots.

Today each indigenous person born in Kaffa, commonly identified under one of the numerous cluster of clan identities like, the Adero, Amaro, Argepo, Agewo, Bushasho, Enaro, Dawro, Minjo, Tigero, Sallalo, Shinasho,  Wollo, Worreto, ooko, Agawtto, Bosho, Gurabo, Balo………and so on and on.  Litany of cluster clan names that link each person to his or her ancestral origination. 

Cluster clan identities of Kaffa population are as many as the entire alphabetic list and then subdivide into numerous branches that create many more symbiotic groups. 

Assuring cluster identity, based on genealogy was purposeful. It was meant to avoid inbreeding within same cluster groups. It still is a taboo in Kaffa region, marrying someone from the same cluster group is forbidden.

 Match makers for those to be wed, routinely launch seven generational background checks before honoring nuptials.Cross marriage between different clans keeps societal balance  and create union between peoples of different roots. For example, the Enaria or often called the Hinaro families of Kaffa, the remnant clan of that fallen “Kingdom of Enaria”.  

At the peak of “Zemene Mesafint”, or “the Era of Princes”, Hinaria Kingdom was one of the four major Kingdoms in the south. Some of the descendants of the Enarea clan still exist today among the Kaffa. The fusion of Enaria clan with other clan groups seemed to create cluster of sub groups, the front end of their clan names begins with En-, (En-area), En-dato, En-abiro, En-kano, En-matcho and on and on.  

(Journal of African History, VL2 1965, pp 205-219 by Mordechai Abir, “The emergence and Consolidation of the monarchies of Enaria and Jimma, in the first half of the nineteenth century”) Mordechai described four distinct kingdoms of the south. They were, Hadia, Wolyta, Sidamo, Kaffa/Enaria.    

“Southern Ethiopia in the sixteenth century, divided into great number of kingdoms and principalities.” …Kaff/Enarea…  was the richest and the strongest kingdom.” … the source of most of the gold, ivory, musk, incense, precious skins, coming from the Ethiopian highlands.” (the most lucrative enterprises of all, was human cargo)  Mordechai indicates that the eventual fall of Enaria  came after invasion by the Limu Oromo.  According to Mordechai, “at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the king of Enarea had escaped to Kaffa. (The seat of Enaria kingdom was the town of Sekka located between Gojeb and Jimma) 

One of the earlier European explorers, named d’Abbadie, while in Enaria in 1843, had documented an oral tradition regarding the invasion of Enaria by Limu Oromo who established the Oromo monarchy, led by Abba Rebu most important Soressa who acquired the seat of Enarea after the king had fled to Kaffa. The kingdom of Kaffa/Enaria had long history of fighting  invaders. In early 1600s, Enaria was attaked by emperor Seltan Seged. According to “Pedro Paez’s History of Ethiopia 1622” published by “The Hakluyt Society”, Volume ll.This happened four hundred years ago, 

“Emperor Seltan Seged, gathered many warriors and went to the kingdom of Enaria. “When the viceroy of Einaria, who was called Gumicho (Kaffa name) came out to encounter Emperor Seltan Seged with many men, they had very fierce skirmishes for three days. On the evening of the third day, Seltan Seged with his men attacked Gumicho’s camp and killed him and many of his men, and took a large amount of booty. But the next morning, the people of Enaria fell on Seltan Seged and fought so hard that they defeated him, and after killing many of his men, made him abandon not only what he had taken the night before but also 600 of his horses.” After the defeat, Seltan Seged went to the land of Gurage. (Pedro Paez’s History of Ethiopia 1622 Volume ll page 215) 

This was a testimony that there were periods of great instability in the southern territories. Hostile forces had often marched southward from the northern highlands and rounded up cattle, captured people and taken them away.  

This warrior groups and many mercenaries, sometimes got absorbed into the indigenous population of the southwest, blended with them and settled in southwest Ethiopia. 

Therefore, the parts in the parcel of Kaffa, you will find various ethnic mixes. The people of Gojam, (Agewo) Harar (Adero) Shewa (Sellalo, Minjo Menz) Tigrei (Tigero) Argoba (Argepo) on and on. 

Thank you for reading about Kaffa

                December 2017                              

Adetto Antonios New York City