Thematic Analysis of Oromo Proverbs Said About Women




Oromo, thematic, proverbs, women


The purpose of this study is to look at the representation of women in the Oromo proverbs and to evaluate the awareness of the society about the effects of these proverbs on women. To achieve this goal, an attempt was made to collect proverbs that refer to women. The data was collected from pre documented books because of the inconvenience of data collection in the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The collected data was translated from the original language ‘Afaan Oromoo` to the target language `English` and finally analyzed and interpreted qualitatively. From the result, women are portrayed both positively and negatively in Oromo proverbs, and the image of a mother and wives are positive. They are represented as excellent house makers and obedient servants of their family. This study, also found out that women are perceived negatively and disrespected in Oromo proverbs. Male dominance and the inferior position and the low status of women are clearly observed. In these proverbs, women are perceived as ignorant, dependent, weak, irresponsible, unpredictable, and as inferior members of their community. In general, the actual characteristics of women are considered as nothing and ideal behaviors are disseminated in proverbs and in cultural trends. The transmission of these proverbs has a contribution to the perpetuation of the negative images of women and this causes women’s negative self-image and their low participation in different social affairs in their community. Therefore, educating women, giving awareness creation training about women’s equality to the society, increasing women’s participation, and discouraging the use of the proverbs that socialize the inferior status of women may be a solution to create a better positive image of women in the society.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Alemitu Oli Aleta, Jimma University

Department Afan Oromo and Literature, Academic rank Assistant professor


Abiy Zegeye (2009). Research Methodology. Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University Press.

Achebe, C. (1974). Arrow of God. London: Heinemann.

Barbro K. Folklore. In International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Volume 8. Pp. 5711-5715. New York: Elsevier, 2001.

Bascom, W. (1965a). Folklore and Anthropology. – In Dundes, A. (Ed.). The Study of Folklore. N. J.: Prentice Hall, Inc.

______ (1992). African Folktales in the New World. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Ben Amos, D. (1975a). Folklore in Africa Society; Research in African Literature. Angola: Nigeria: African Book Publishing Record.

Berhanu,B.(2008).The Portrayal of Women in Folktales and Popular Sayings of the Oromo of East Wallega.(unpublished M.A Thesis) Addis Ababa University Department of Foreign Language and Literature.

Chesaina, C. (1997). Oral Literature of the Embu and Mbeere. Nairobi: East African Educatonal Publishers.

Courlander, H. (1975). A Treasury of African Folklore; The Oral Literature, Traditions myths, legends, epics, tales, recollections, wisdom, sayings and humor of Africa. New York: Crown Publishers Inc.

Coyle, M. (1991). Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism. New York: Rutledge.

Cuddon, J. A. (1982). A Dictionary of Literary Terms. Penguin Books.

Dorson, R. (Ed) (1972).Folklore and Folk life: An Introduction. Chicago: The University of Chicago.

Eshete, G. (2007). African Society and Egalitarian Values; Oromo folklore literature and cultural studies in contemporary context. (Unpublished PH. D. dissertation).

Finnegan, R. (1970). Oral Literature in Africa. Nairobi: Dar Es Salaam: Oxford University Press.

_______ (1992). Oral Tradition and Verbal Arts. London: Rutledge

Guerin, W. L. (1998). A Hand Book of Critical Approaches to Literature. 4th Ed. New York: Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jaylan, W. H. (2005). The Function of African Oral Arts; The Arsi Oromo oral arts in focus. African Study Monographs, 26(1), PP. 15-58.

Lewis,M.E.B.(1974). Feminists have done it: Applied Folklore. Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 87. No.343 PP. 85-87.

Lindfors, B. (1977). Forms of Folklore in Africa; Narrative, poetic, gnomic, dramatic. Austin and London: University of Texas Press.

Miruka, O. (1994). Understanding and Teaching Proverbs. - In Bukenya and (et al.) (Eds.) Understanding Oral Literature. Nairobi: Nairobi University Press.

Ndungo, C. M. (1993). The Images of Women in African Oral Literature; A case study of Gikuyu Oral Literature, - in Mesfin, a. and Abiye, D. (2006). Gender Issues Research Report Series. No. 23 PP. 1- 80 Ethiopia: OSSREA.

Okpewho, I. (1992). African Oral Literature; Background, character and continuity. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Sena Gonfa. (2008) .The Image of Women in the Proverbs and Saying of the Oromo: the case of West Arsi Zone (unpublished M.A. Thesis) Addis Ababa University Department of Foreign Language and Literature.

Sumner, Claud. (1995).Oromo Wisdom Literature. Vol.I. Addis Ababa: Guddina Tumsa Foundation.

Taddese, J. (2004). A Contextual Study of Guji Oromo Proverbs; Functions in focus. (Unpublished MA. thesis). A.A.U. Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.

D’angelo, (





How to Cite

Aleta, A. O. (2021). Thematic Analysis of Oromo Proverbs Said About Women. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 9(1), 561–573.

Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.