Southern Ethiopia is home to 51 distinct ethnic groups organised by their language families which include Cushitic, Nilo-Saharan, Semitic and Omotic.
The Omo Valley
The Omo Valley is a region in southern Ethiopia where South Omo Theatre's first project takes place. It is home to over a dozen diverse peoples, including the Dizi, Bodi (Me’en), Dimi, Suri (Chai, Tirmaga and Suri Baale), Mursi (Mun), Kwegu (Muguji), Aari, Nyangatom, Kara, Maale, Hamar, Banna, Bashada, and the Dasanech who coexist with varying degrees of peace. Our first project works with the Mursi.
The Mursi are one of the smallest tribes in the Omo Valley and have become known for their distinctive aesthetic practices, including the wearing of lip plates by women, and the ceremonial stick duelling of men. The Mursi are excellent orators and are known as powerful rhetoricians among the South Omo groups.
Olisarali Olibui, a member of the Mursi and one of the co-founders of the South Omo Theatre Co., has done much to promote his culture and in 2009 he made a film, Shooting with Mursi, with Ben Young about life with the Mursi in the Omo Valley: