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Tsemay People

Tsemay or Tsemey Tribe

Also spelled Tsamai, they are found living in the semi-arid region of the Omo Valley.  These people are agro-pastoralist and use both livestock herding and agriculture to survive.  Common crops grown by the tribe are sorghum, millet and sometimes cotton.

Like the Hamer tribe, the Tsemay boys have to successfully complete a bull jumping event.  This is a ceremony where the boy runs across multiple bulls.  If the boy can make it across four times without falling, he becomes a man.  To prove a boy has accomplished a bull jumping, he is outfitted with a band that has feathers on it.  It is worn on his head and it shows that he is now looking for a wife.

Unlike any other tribe in Ethiopia, the Tsemay have arranged weddings.  The parents of the woman pick who she will marry with or without her consent.  Even if the marriage is arranged, the man must still be able to afford to pay for his future wife.  Payment of cattle, honey, grain and coffee beans are accepted.  Women of the tribe who are not married, wear a short leather skirt with a v-shaped apron attached.  Married women wear long leather dresses with an apron that have an apron covering their front and back side.  The men in the tribe are found carrying small wooden seats to sit with.

 
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