Oromo Oral Literature for Environmental Conservation: A Study of Selected Folksongs in East and West Hararghe Zones
History of scholarship and learning. The humanities
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AbstractThis paper presents the values, knowledge and beliefs of the environment that are inscribed in the Oromo folksongs with particular reference to Eastern and Western Hararghe zones of Oromia regional state. The paper discusses the various contributions of the Oromo folksongs in conserving the environment. The paper is based on the qualitative data produced through face-to-face interviews, non-participant observations and document analysis of both published and unpublished sources. The data used in this paper were collected from 24 individuals of the community leaders, elders and sheekaas by using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. The analysis of the paper is employed in functional, contextual and ecocritical theoretical models. In order to arrive at the various ideas of folksongs connected to the environmental conservation, some selected folksongs were carefully designated. The paper attempts to address the contexts in which the folksongs reflect the viewpoints of environment. It also tries to explore the role of Oromo folksongs and their implications in the efforts of wide-reaching environmental views. The position of this paper is that indigenous knowledge (Oromo folksongs) is an effective vehicle in supplementing the existing efforts of conserving the environment through imagery, metaphoric, and symbolic description. Based on the analysis, this paper addresses the association that the Oromo people have strong reflections of environmental conservation through its folksongs. On the basis of the contextual analysis, we classified the folksongs that have environmental implication into four sub-divisions: (1) for utilitarian reason, (2) for visualization, (3) for aesthetic values and (4) for morality purpose.