Bishaan jige haga dhaqqaban ol-qaban jedhan jenneeti, HAMBAA HABALEE CITTEE faana dhayuu bane. Sa’aa Abbaan Gaafa cabse, Ormii Ija baasa/baysa – hawwiin hojii hin taatu, ol-ka’aa nu kaasaa.
THE Oromo language, part of the Northern Cushitic branch of African language families, is the third most widely spoken language in Africa. Although it miraculously survived a century of repression, it remains the least developed in a written form. The Oromo tradition is orally transmitted. That is why, it is often said, “every time an Oromo elder dies, a library is lost.”
Today’s technology offers abundant opportunities to turn that around and integrate Afaan Oromo into technology. What’s more, the growing number of Oromo Diaspora stands to lose some of those oral traditions. Hamba is our small effort to fill that gap. We hope to collect and preserve the rich Oromo proverbs, riddles, folktales, traditional hymns, and etc. We are inspired to embark on this road beacuse we believe there is more to life than survival. The creative arts and literature, in all their variety and facets, bestow on social life more profound meanings.
THe Oromo people occupy a vast landmass and overtime have developed various dialects. By offering an online, interactive platform, OPride.com hopes to reach-out to Oromos from all corners of the vast Oromo country to help us collect the bits and pieces (nuggets) of the great Oromo civilization that was once on the verge of extinction. This effort, however token, aspires to hasten our journey on the current road towards the revival, rebirth, and rejuvination of the great Gada-based Oromo civilization, not in its outdated form but perhaps in its adaptive, dynamic, and eternal dimension. The goal is to reconstruct and resurrect that giant Oromo edifice of folk wisdom, one block at a time.
We will feature weekly proverbs (mammaaksa), hiibboo (riddles), word of the day and all other literary pieces based on reader’s contributions. We are already inundated by submitted materials. A pioneer Oromo Artist Dr Ali Bira admirably sang about Afaan Oromo as follows:
Galma Aada keenyaa, Eegaa Seenaa Keenyaa
Kallachaa Tokkummaa, Hundee Bilisummaa
Afaan Oromoo, Hundee Oromummaa
Gurratti mi’aawa, Yaa’an Sagalee Kee
Cirracha Bishaanii, Baay’inni Jecha Kee
Kan Rafee Dammaysa, Weedduu fi Walaloon Kee
Lakkaawamee Hin Dhumu, Hiibboo fi Mammaaksi Kee
Mee Nu Marti Itti Haa Yaadnu
Ilmaan Haa Barsiifnuu
Ittin Haa Guddifnuu
Wal Haa Yaadachiifnuu, Jechoota Adda Addaa
Ittiin Haa Barannuu, Siyaasaa fi Herrega
We couldn’t have said it any better. But since he sang that song nearly two decades ago, there remains much to be done – to collect, preserve, integrate Afaan Oromo to the modern technology and standardize it. Heeding Dr Ali Bira’s advice, we hereby dedicate this page to all the giants that came before us – upon whose shoulders we stand AND proudly say “I am Oromo – and I am Proud of it!”