Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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ANNILEY E. Tessema, Debre Birhan University, Ethiopia

According to Afar legend, the children of Modaibrahim form the Modaito branches of Afar. The Modaito Afar belongs to the Asahimera section and has eight branches called locally “barkha adda” (eight beds), namely Kiube, Hankeba, Arapta, Asab’bekri, Afkei, Mead, Neser, and Agini. These are the sons of the Modaibrahim. Over time, however, as a result of their geographical proximity in their settlement areas and blood relations, they formed an alliance. Politically, economically, and socially, the Modaito Afar organized themselves on the basis of the clan settlement pattern and clan territoriality. They have strongly maintained their socio-political organizational and hierarchical structure despite changes in social, economic, and political conditions. For a long period of history, the Modaito Afar were led by different Sultans locally called Amoita. The Sultans were appointed in Aussa, currently located between Ayisaita and Afambo districts in the Lower Awash Valley. Because of its resource endowment and military force, the Aussa Sultanate was much more influential than the other Afar sultanates. The introduction of large-scale, state-sponsored irrigation farming in the Awash Valley during the Imperial regime completely changed the social, economic and political situation of the Aussa Sultan. This paper will present the descent history, clan structure, social organization and organizational principles, and the role of women in the formation of clan identity and clan alliance among the Modayito Afar. The data was obtained using qualitative research methods.