Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
The Gamo people of southwestern Ethiopia are an ancient people who have maintained much of their traditional way of life. Their society is based on caste systems, with a rigid structure that correlates to the various traditional occupations. The religious system is based on the social structure that separates citizens who are farmers and weavers from those who are ironsmiths, leather workers, and stone carvers. The Gamo believe in the role of the ancestors in the survival of their community. Thus, all castes are created to ensure that the ancestors' wills are carried out. Membership in a specific caste system is ascribed from birth. People are born into a caste, and there is no movement between groups. Social mobility does not exist. Once you have been born into a caste, you remain in that particular caste. Furthermore, each caste remains locked into its caste in terms of marriage; this means ...