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QASAHYAAH MARA VS QADOHYAAH MARA DUALITY IN AFAR: EVIDENCE FROM LOWLAND PERIPHERAL AREA [Abstract ID: 0501-07]
The Afar are one of the pastoralist groups in the northeastern part of Ethiopia. They belong to East African lowland Cushitic-speaking groups, like the Somali and the Oromo. They call their language Qafar-af and their land Qafar-Baro. The pastoralist Afar historically divided into two major groups known as Qasahyaah Mara and Qadohyaah Mara. Different interpretations have been coined by different writers (Cossin (1973), Lewis (1998), Thesiger (1935)) about this duality. These writers describe the myth and the relationship of the two groups but none of them analyzed the myth and disclosed the inconsistency behind it. Due to that, there is not a clear and common understanding about the duality. But to have a clear understanding about the two groups, the historical origin of the duality has to be addressed. The difference between the two groups is not related to their primordial attachment or migration history. In addition, this duality does not have any significant impact or difference on the day to day activities of the two groups and there is not any clear-cut boundary nor a noble and commoners division. Rather their difference is socially constructed and emanated from the difference in customary law. The data has been gathered using qualitative research methods.