Review of Agaw-Awi Family Tree

Chekole A.
April 16 2010

I read the paper entitled, Awi Family Tree, written by Silatanu Belay in December 2009. The author discusses about historical bonding of the southern Agaw people (Awi). The author’s discussion is based on Miller’s manuscript work in 1969 and other sources. According to this paper, father of the present Awi people is Adil who led large family members to the south. His folks comprised of nuclear and extended family members: Banja, Ankesha, Kokira, Dangla, Fagta, Gugsa, Chara, Lekoma, Tumha, Mtikela (Metekel), Zigam & Azena. The author states that localities and woredas in the present Awi Zone are named after names of these family members, and it is “the typical Agaw culture in this part of the world.”

Also, the author notes the population of the Agaw people in the past throughout central Ethiopia , shuwa to Eritera, including the present Agaw homelands, citing works by Fage, Roland, 1986 and Edward Ullendorff, 1920. The language and identity of the Awi is another point that has been mentioned in this paper. Except elders, young Awis unable to speak the language their parents/grand parents, in the areas of Kokira, Fagta, Dange and southern Gugsa. However, he says that the identity of the Awi is beyond the Awi language capability. He sees proud Awis about their identity regardless of the language they speak. In contrary, he finds also people who mask themselves with fake ones, in fear of true self-expression in association with past stereotype and oppression. As he described in the author’s note section in Amharic, [unlike citizenship], identity of a true self is inborn biological make up and cognitive trait, something cannot be determined or altered by one’s choice or wills; he argues no one was born with his/her choice to be female versus male, or black versus white, or this or that a member of ethnic group. Lastly, he rises three questions regard to the Agaw people in general on the back of this booklet:

  1. Whereabouts of the Agaw people who lived throughout Central Shua to Eritrea .
  2. Reasons for discontinuation of the Agaw civilization.
  3. Whether the Ethiopian history literature is impartial.

The writer views these questions about security rather than intellectual curiosity. He suggests also possible needs for UN help to determined whereabouts of the Agaw people if the Ethiopian Government lacks technical and financial capability to settle this issue through a neutral fact finding body. The word “technical” is seemingly includes DNA tests and other scientific methodologies for data collection and inference. The document appears to be one of inputs for further studies to set Ethiopia ’s historical record straight.