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KONSO

The Konso (The World heritage Site, the villages of Konso): people are situated on the banks of the seasonal Segen River, the town of Karat-Konso, has roughly 3,000-4,000 inhabitants. It is perched at an elevation of 1,650m and is far from Arbaminch by 90km. Konso region is full of rugged land is predominantly composed of many hills. Through time the people have devised their own mechanism of retaining their fertile soil by developing complex and yet entirely their own, terracing system. Extensive and intricate, this system preserves the fertility of the friable top soils and prevents them from being washed down in to the valleys below. The people are so hard working that one can hardly see unteraced hill. The Konso love music and make use of a wide range of instruments for spiritual and ritual purposes and for amusement. Young children play bullroarers, while a lot of woman and boys of Konso people are skilled flute players. The Kirar, is popular among males, as is the five string dita (which somewhat resembles a guitar).When a hero or important man dies, waka figures are carved in his honor. They are placed in and around the fields where the man has been buried. The dead is usually represented in the center of the waka group and flanked by his wives. On the surroundings stand any enemies he may have killed, carved in an abstract and phallic fashion. Fierce animals he has slain, such as a leopard, a lion, or crocodile, will also be depicted and placed at his feet. Usually on the forehead of the wooden waka a phallic symbol is carved. This is similar to the one made of iron or aluminum and worn on the foreheads of elders during ceremonies.

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Photo's by Mekonen Zewdie ©2011 "Ethiopia At a Glance" www.ethiopiaataglance.com

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