Dassanetch or Geleb

The Dassanetch or Geleb are some 22,000 people who inhabit the region around the southern & hence the lower most course of the Omo river reaching to the place where the delta of the Omo river is found close to Lake Turkana.

The Dassanetch live on both sides (on the eastern as well as the western banks) of the Omo river.
They are neighbored by the Nyangaton (Bume) and the Karo in the North, the Hamar in the east, the Sudan in the west, and the Northern shores of Lake Turkana in the south. The present day Dassanetch, according to the Karo oral tradition, are one section of their population who favored to remain in the land around the Omo delta during their migration from the southern Sudan to their present day territory.
The Dassanetch like in the earlier history of the Karo, are originally nomadic pastoralists who would like to identify themselves as live stock farmers. However, despite their dedication to cattle rearing current reality reveals that crop cultivation on the flooded banks of the Omo river and its delta are fundamental to their subsistence. The Dassanetch ,live in patches of conical constructs.
Omoratte market of the Dassanetch has been serving for centuries as an important trading center of the Karo and the Geleb where the Karo head with their own & Bashada clay pots (produces) with the intention of exchanging them for grain, Coffee and ammunition. These clay made materials are taken by the Dassanetch as far as the kibish market where they are exchanged for beads and cowry shells from the Turkana & Samburu.
The entire population of the Dassanetch is composed of two main groups called the Yenmeto and the Sheer, which have five, and three tribal sections respectively. Major societal ceremonies like the dimi and circumcision are held with in these tribal sections.
In the Dassanetch society power is in the hands of a group of about thirty elders called “bulls" (Ara). It seems that having a daughter is considered as blessing. For the Dassanetch man bearing a daughter is something which qualifies him for participating in certain collective rituals. For example, the daughter is central in what is known as the dimi ceremony. Individuals of tribal section attend the dimi for six weeks during which time people dance, feast, and pass through rituals.
In the final analysis of this celebration it is the girls up on whom the leader of the "bulls" (ma arap), showers his fertility- focused blessings. This ritual is crucial for the men in that it is after the completion of this ceremony that a Dassanetch man is recognized as an elder regardless of his position in the age-system.
The dim ritual may be carried out up on the birth of a girl. However, the ceremony is usually deliberately postponed for some years. The time gap helps the Dassanetch accumulate the required resources for the celebration over time.
With plastered front and back clay hair buns and other striking details, the hair style of the Dassanetch men is one of the most sophisticated in the Omo valley. The favored style among Dassanetch children (nigen) is one in which most part of the head is shaven and a small cap of hair is left on the front.

 

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