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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Giraffes and Poetry: Some Observations on Giraffe Hunting among the Boran
Author:Baxter, P.T.W.
Geographic term:Ethiopia
oral poetry
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/23076641
Abstract:Among the Boran, an Oromo people in Ethiopia, a warrior who kills an enemy male or a hunter who kills a lion, an elephant or a rhinoceros is accorded great honour, which is dramatically marked at the time by changes in his hairdressing and the right to wear decorations. The honour endures throughout his life and is recalled at specific stages in his passage through life. Giraffes do not fit into the category of trophy game. Giraffe killing, though manly, is a domestic and familial activity in terms of its end product (hide, meat), and not like killing enemies or inedible trophy game, an activity of the solely martial world of men. Both men and women express ambivalence about giraffe hunting and giraffe hunters. The primary purpose of this paper is to examine this ambivalence through the analysis of some Boran songs which celebrate giraffe killings. The songs were recorded at Maikona in April 1978. Two points emerged clearly during the transcription and the accompanying discussion: none of the verses has an exactly correct version, and the verses are not intended to convey a simple narrative message. Bibliogr., notes.