Tassonomia pastorale dei Saho ʻAsaorta: materiali coloniali [Pastoral taxonomy of the Saho ʻAsaorta: colonial materials] (2004)
By Gianni Dore
From Antonio Mendicino, Nadia Pantera e Marta Maddalon (eds.)(2004) Etnolinguistica e Zoonimia. Le denominazioni popolari degli animali. Rende: Centro Editoriale e Librario. Università degli Studi della Calabria. Pp. 205-221
Published with permission.
A new version of this article, reviewed and updated, is under preparation.
An encyclopedic lexicon of the Saho traditional knowledge on beekeeping (2009)
From Ethnorêma, 5 (2009): 61-88.
Beekeeping is one of the traditional productive activities for which the Saho population is well-known. Even though it is not practiced on a large scale, there still are several people who engage in honey production either for their personal consumption or for commercial purposes.
After independence Eritrea promoted a modernization policy of honey production techniques, with specific local training courses, but Saho beekeeping is still done mainly the traditional way. What an individual beekeper knows about it generally derives from his personal experience, or from what his father taught him. Accordingly, this lexicon documents the traditional terminology and knowledge as they have been told us by our informants. No attempt is made to provide a scientific description of their beekeeping activities, even if what they said was plainly wrong, e.g., the belief of some of them that queen bees are males.
The data in this lexicon are provisional, in the sense that they result from the field work that has been done by till now, covering southern varieties of Northern Saho and the two main varieties of Central Saho. The next field trips in Eritrea by the team of the Atlas of the Traditional Material Culture of the Saho project will attempt to elicit data in villages where the other varieties of Saho are spoken.
Field data have been collected in Eritrea from 1999 to 2009 by Moreno and Roberta Vergari (Ethnorêma). Interviews with the informants mentioned below have been carried out in January and February 2008 and 2009 by Ahmedsaad Mohammed Omer [Axmadsacad Maxammad Cumar] (Eritrean Field Coordinator), Giorgio Banti (University of Naples “L’Orientale”), Giovanni Dore (University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari), Moreno Vergari and Roberta Vergari. The Ministry of Education of the State of Eritrea (MoE) generously provided the project with all the necessary authorizations and logistic support for visiting the towns and villages in the Southern (Debub) Region. The Saho Panel of the Department of General Education of the MoE supported us with their expertise.
From the same page audio and video files can be downloaded.
“C’è l’Assaorta che ci aspetta…”. Geografi ed etnografi italiani tra i Saho d’Eritrea [“There is the Assaorta that is waiting us…” Italian geographers and ethnographers among the Saho of Eritrea] (2009)
By Gianni Dore
At the very beginning of the XX c. four Italian geographers and ethnologists reached Eritrea to do a scientific survey of several Saho groups. Their aim was to collect data on Saho material culture, as well as on their myths of origins, historical accounts, riddles, and genealogies. They sought support for their research insisting that it would also be useful to colonial administrators. This essay takes into account the methodology of their inquiry, the colonial practices and sheds light on the complex and ambiguous relationship between researchers, colonial officers, local chiefs and inhabitants in the Akkälä Guzai region in that early stage of Italian colonial rule. As a product of that mission a rich ethnographic collection of Saho handcrafts reached Florence where it was kept in the Museum of Anthropology and partly exhibited. It is a remarkable resource on the Saho cultural heritage. That old mission and its results are the scientific basis on which today’s field research mission with its own linguistic and ethnographic goals is based.
The Saho of Eritrea and the documentation of their language and cultural heritage (2010)
By Giorgio Banti and Moreno Vergari
From Annali dell’Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”. Rivista del Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici e del Dipartimento di Studi e Ricerche su Africa e Paesi Arabi, vol. 70 (2013 ). Pp. 83-108.
The use of indigenous communication approaches for Hiv/Aids prevention in Erob woreda, North Eastern Tigray (2010)
By Hagos Nigussie
This paper examines the use of indigenous communication channels for HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in Erob woreda, Eastern Zone of Tigray. To this part, Qualitative Research and mainly Case Study was employed to explore the communication strategies, the folk media forms, the appropriateness of the currently employed channels of communication and the nature of the language of intervention communication for the epidemic prevention. The study used individual in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation for generating data from two sub- districts of the woreda namely Daya-Alitena and Ingal areas. With this, the paper attempted to examine different scholarly observations, theories and models to the significance of folk media in development communication. Hence, the findings from the study indicate that the communities use different forms of folk media in their day to day needs and believe them as potential conduits for any societal concerns. However, when it comes to the communication strategies and their appropriateness for the intervention programs, it lacks to employ folk media channels though most practitioners know them. In terms of community participation in the programs, it is revealed that the people’s literacy levels and the types of intervention channels remained incompatible. There is also language barrier as most intervention programs are carried out using Tigrigna language to which a number of the Erob communities don’t comprehend. Consequently, the overall result of the study signifies that; little use of folk media channels, low level of community participation due to limited knowledge about the epidemic, and the language of the intervention programs itself appear to make the intervention programs less effective in the woreda (from the abstract).
Conflict Resolution and Customary Law in Contemporary Eritrea: Case Studies of the Saho Community (2015)
By Abdulkader Saleh Mohammad and Nicole Hirt
The Eritrean society is composed of nine ethnic groups who are heterogeneous in na- ture, based on a variety of languages and cultures. Each ethnic group practices different belief systems and various customary laws, which are framed and administered by elder- ly, religious and wise men of the concerned groups. This paper will elaborate the origins of the Saho speaking groups, their traditional rules and regulations. Although the his- torical trace of their customary law is not clearly known, most elders and ʿuqqāls1 of the Saho people claim that it is older than the era of the Islam. This traditional law was pre- served orally among the community and was passed on from generation to generation. Only during the period of the British colonial administration, this oral traditional cul- ture was collected, recorded and written down in 1943. The Saho as agro-pastoralists maintained their self-governance system for long periods, and this should be seen as a base of historical development of the customary law, which was respected and applied by all Saho tribes. The traditional conflict and tension mediation system continued to be practiced during the European and Ethiopian colonial administrations, especially on the local level. The paper will also discuss the relevance of this law in the modern State of Eritrea, and how the government tolerates the traditional forms of social organisation and conflict mediation systems. In addition, the paper will demonstrate the functionali- ty of the law by presenting different case studies.
Published with permission.
Rapporti socio-produttivi tra agricoltori tigrini e pastori saho d’Eritrea. L’evoluzione dell’abitazione saho dalla daasa alla naxsa [Socio-productive relations between Tigreans farmers and Saho pastoralists of Eritrea. The evolution of Saho dwelling from daasa to naxsa] (2015)
By Gianni Dore
Identità, ibridazione ed evoluzione dell’abitare tra i Saho di Eritrea e Etiopia [Identity, hybridization and evolution of the dwelling among the Saho of Eritrea and Ethiopia] (2016)
by Gianni Dore and Moreno Vergari
Il saggio ripercorre i passaggi storici dei modi dell’abitare e della morfologia e struttura delle case tra i gruppi parlanti la lingua saho in Eritrea e in Etiopia. Le ipotesi e ricostruzioni storiche proposte si basano sull’esame di un ampio materiale documentario, scritto, orale e iconografico. Le etichette linguistiche, i modi espressivi e la letteratura orale formalizzata permettono di penetrare nella cultura e ideologia dell’abitare e nelle complesse dinamiche della divisione sessuata degli spazi e del lavoro. L’esperienza pastorale, con le transumanze da e verso il bassopiano dancalo, i suoi ritmi ed esigenze tecniche, ha segnato profondamente per un lunghissimo periodo i modelli abitativi. Sono descritte, con le loro variazioni locali o temporali, con attenzione al loro lessico specifico, le abitazioni mobili e temporanee, gli adat- tamenti progressivi e creativi, nel passaggio a un agro-pastoralismo, verso la casa fattoria dei contadini tigrinofoni, e infine i decisivi cambiamenti materiali e ideologici verso nuovi modelli di casa e dell’abitare.