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Mursi Encounter the Other


Supporting research led by members of the Mursi community


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The South Omo Theatre Company are pleased to announce that we will be working alongside SOAS University to create opportunities for the Mursi [Mun] community to undertake research, consolidate alliances with other agro-pastoralist groups, and to communicate with policymakers. SOT co-founder Olisarali Olibui will lead on establishing the Mursi community-led research, with plans to visit policy makers in the UK, EU, UN and US to promote the results. Alongside facilitating research, SOT will be producing three short films dedicated to the process and findings of this project.

A play about love and war in Mursiland 

On 31st July 2022 the dream was realised and the play was performed in front of hundreds of people and several TV crews at the National Theatre of Ethiopia. A film about this amazing achievement is currently in post-production and will be released later this year.

SOT’s first project (ongoing) works with SOT co-founder Olisarali Olibui’s community, the Mursi (or Mun, their self-designation). Olisarali has written a play—in collaboration with a team of Ethiopian theatre professionals—dramatising a love story set in Mursiland and based on true events, in which two men are in love with the same girl. 


According to Mursi customary law, such a conflict is best resolved through donga (stick duelling), which used for peace and stability in Mursiland. The play draws on the Mursi’s rich performative culture and oral traditions, with a cast of Mursi actors. It is the first production put on by any community in South Omo and in their own language. Alongside the play, SOT is producing a broadcast quality feature documentary about the process, due for international release.

Performances took place in Omo Valley, Wolkite and Addis Ababa, attended by politicians and TV crews, Olisarali hopes that the play will not only improve dialogue and relations between the Mursi community and the centralised government, but will transform political and cultural stereotypes about the Mursi.

Throughout the production, the South Omo Theatre team and its partners strived to create a work that was rooted in Mursi indigenous practices and remain locally relevant, while, at the same time, actively recognising and offering training and tutorials on international theatre practices.  


We are grateful to SOAS P4P programme in supporting the project. For more information visit:

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