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The Dizi are an Omotic-speaking people in the Omo Valley, near the small town of Maji. They number 25.000, traditionally divided into twenty tribes that are hierarchically organized and linked together. All Dizi live in the relatively cool highlands, surrounded by the Tchai, the Tirchana, and the Suri peoples. Dizi were independent until 1898, at which time they were conquered by the Empire and subsequently exploited and enslaved by all the surrounding peoples as well as the Northerners. Enslavement was the consequence of the integration of the Dizi in the so-called gabbar system, comparable to the European and Asian feudal systems of the late middle Ages. This tragedy reduced their numbers by 70% within two generations. The communists did the rest in the 1970s, taking away all tokens of dignity from the Dizi leadership as well as all of their religious symbols. The Dizi were reduced to a small people of farmers, all sharing their Dizi background: a mere shadow of the traditional structures of the past remains, but the integrity of the Dizi nation and her way of life have disappeared for good. 

 

Culture

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