The Lower Omo Valley refers to an area in southwest Ethiopia adjacent to the southern reaches of the Omo Valley and Omo River and partly coextensive with the South Omo Zone administrative unit. The region is home to around twenty ethnic groups making it one of the most diverse areas in East Africa. The exact number of ethnic groups is a matter of both academic and political dispute but include the Hamar, Kara, Arbore, Nyangatom, Dassanech, Kwegu, Mursi, Bodi, Suri, Dizi, Dime, Ari, Maale, and Tsemay among others and include Omotic, Cushitic, Surmic, and Karimojong speakers. Geographically the region ranges from arid lowlands along the Kenyan and South Sudanese borders to lush high-mountain areas, extensive grasslands, and riverine habitats. The range of subsistence strategies includes transhumant pastoralism, riverine fishing and hunting, flood-water retreat cultivation, and horticulture. Although there is an urban center in the region and administrative towns throughout the Lower Omo, some parts of the region continue to remain largely outside market and state contexts.
Many of the materials on the Lower Omo Valley are difficult to locate. If you need help obtaining any academic materials, please send me an email and I may be able to help.
- South Omo Research Center
- Mursi Online
- UNESCO Report
- The Hamar of southern Ethiopia
The Nyangatom are Nilotic semi-nomadic pastoralists inhabiting the border region between South Sudan and Ethiopia along the northern edge of the Ilemi Triangle. They number approximately 30,000 with populations in both South Sudan and Ethiopia. Ethnographic documentation of the Nyangatom is sparse with the majority of it by French anthropologist Serge Tornay. The Nyangatom are members of the Karimojong or Ateker cluster and closely related to the neighboring Toposa and Turkana who speak mutually intelligible languages. They also share borders with the Suri, Mursi, Kwegu, Kara, Hamar, and Dassanetch. Although they identify primarily as pastoralists, agricultural products such as sorghum and maize constitute a significant portion of the diet for many Nyangatom and may be supplemented through hunting. Although many Nyangatom live in mobile villages, a significant number live in semi-permanent villages on the east banks of the Omo river and the north bank of the seasonal Kibish river.