Nilo-Ethiopian Studies No.24 (2019)

Nilo-Ethiopian Studies vol. 24 (2019)


The Gift by Marcel Mauss showed that gift giving has multiple factors that seem to contradict each other. Freedom and obligation are constantly described as being two sides of the same coin in the book. This study focuses on the ambiguity and polysemy of hospitality and gifts that Mauss suggested. The Daasanach, who live in the border area of Ethiopia and Kenya, fight with their neighboring groups. Nevertheless, many Daasanach have friends who belong to these groups. When a violent conflict ends, members of the two groups voluntarily visit each other’s lands, interact peacefully, and form friendships. The friendships among them are neither formed as a result of acts of social obligation nor are relationships formed as a means for an individual to seek one’s own profit. They are relationships that are formed when two parties with different daily lives happen to encounter one another, with one party providing hospitality and/or gifts to another who cannot do anything but “wait.” In this paper, I will analyze the emerging process of friendship and emphasize the coincidental aspect of hospitality and gift giving.

Keywords: The Gift (by Marcel Mauss), reciprocity, inter-ethnic relation, pastoralist, East Africa


Hïdmo, a traditional house type seen in Tigray Region, Ethiopia, and the adjacent area of the Eritrean highlands, mainly consists of masonry walls, wooden ceilings, and a soil roof. This paper specifically focuses on the hïdmo found in the former Ïnderta province, Southeastern Zone of the present Tigray Region. The objective of this paper is to clarify the typical parcel layout, spatial components of typical hïdmo house and building elements of hïdmo house, based on the basic knowledge of the local building materials. On that basis, the hierarchy of the traditional house is discussed. Making glossary of each building and space in the parcel, each space in the hïdmo house, and each building element of the hïdmo house is helpful to understand the themes clearly.

Hïdmo applies to the main house built in the parcel, and is where the vast majority of daily indoor activities are carried out. The central space with entrance door of the house is named mïdri-bét. In addition, a two-storied part for cereal storage and housing small domestic animals, and one-storied part for sleeping and storing equipment are often attached. The indoor environment of the hïdmo house is stabilized because of the thick walls, ceiling and roof, and the limited number of openings.

Stones and woods are the principal building materials of hïdmo. While stone materials that are easy to deal with could be collected from the neighborhood or nearby, wooden materials were scarce in Ïnderta province. Therefore, the use of more wooden materials contributed to increasing the prestige of the house.

Keywords: Traditional house, Building material, Masonry, Hi:dmo, Tigray, Ethiopia


Especially since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed to internationally in 2015, have comprised inclusive education, many developing countries formed inclusive education policies. Ethiopia started implementing inclusive education relatively earlier than other developing countries and formed the “Special Needs Education Program Strategy” in 2006, revised in 2012 as the “Special Needs/Inclusive Education Strategy.” In order to practice inclusive education, stakeholders in education need to understand its philosophy (Lipsky & Gartner 1999). Therefore, this study aims to examine the current state of inclusive education in Ethiopia from the perspectives of parents/guardians of children with disabilities and teachers of inclusive classes at primary schools. This research is based on case study methods and explored three public primary schools in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The main data collection methods of this study were semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. This study revealed that teachers and parents/guardians of children with disabilities have contradicting views on inclusive education for children with disabilities. Although teachers and parents understand the advantages of inclusive education, they perceive that learning in regular school is not necessarily the best path for children with disabilities. This study also underlines that children with disabilities do not often have a choice in terms of school selection of either regular school or special school under the one-track policy in Addis Ababa.

Keywords: inclusive education, children with disabilities, teachers’ perceptions, parents of children with disabilities, Addis Ababa


This study aims to investigate the influence of food culture on the choice of cooking fuel by verifying the locality of food and cooking methods using a case study from Kampala, Uganda. It has been suggested in previous studies that when socio-economic status improves, households generally upgrade their cooking fuel, shifting from woodfuel to LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or electricity. Although Uganda’s economy has grown for decades, charcoal has been the main cooking fuel in 80% of the households in Kampala. The food culture and cooking habits in Central Uganda are unique. Bananas have high cultural value in the area as staple food and are consumed in large quantities. Observations of the cooking process show that bananas are often steamed for 2-4 hours over a very low heat, which cannot be achieved using advanced fuels such as LPG. Even in high-income households, charcoal is still the main source of fuel despite advanced alternatives being available and affordable. Therefore, residents of Kampala positively choose charcoal over other sources of fuel for reasons inherent to local cooking traditions. Not only socio-economic status but also local food traditions also have an important impact on the choice of cooking fuel.

Keywords: cooking fuel, food culture, woodfuel, banana, Uganda

Reviewer, Yumi Yamane

Human-Wildlife Conflict in Kenya: Crop Raiding and People’s Coping Strategies in Mahiga-B Village, Nyeri County. Charles Musyoki, Kyoto: Shokado Shoten, 2018, pp. 239. (in English)

Reviewer, Takeshi Fujimoto

Cultivating with Oxen: Futurability of the Indigenous Ploughing Agriculture in Ethiopia ( Ushi-to-tomoni Tagayasu: Echiopia-ni-okeru Zairaisukinoko-no Miraikanosei). Toshikazu Tanaka, Kyoto: Shokado Shoten, 2018, pp. 154. (in Japanese)