Banna and Tsamai people are the first tribes you will meet on the way to Omo River at southern Ethiopia. When you first see them, you understand what really does mean to be in Africa with people still living the same life as they used to live hundred years ago.
Banna and Tsamai people lives next to each other and they’ve been constantly influencing each other. It’s quite hard to distinguish them. They are mostly herdsmen, keeping sheep and goats. On small lands, they produce sorghum, sesame and corn, but they are not good farmers and their harvest is usually very poor. But they are good beekeepers. They are making bee-hives and putting them up to the trees tops. They have more honey they can consume themselves, so they sell it at markets or around the roads. It’s their fundamental source of money to buy tools they are not able to develop on their own.
They are originally nomads. After some time they have to move to the new pasture. The movings are normally long and tiring. Their houses are designed to support it, consisting of simple skeleton covered by grass and matting. The older people are highly respected. Leaders consist of the oldest men in the group. On the other hand women, both married and single, are mostly at second-rate position. There is no celebration when girl is changing into women. Boys, on the other hand, are celebrating their maturity. Each boy has to join the jumping of the Bull ceremony to become a man.
Banna and Tsamai live at the lower river around Key Afar village, 400km south of Addis Ababa. Key Afar is one of the most important market villages in the area.