Resistance Movement and the Radio Broadcasting: A History of Afaan Oromoo Politics in the Horn, 1962 -1974

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Afaan Oromoo is a widely spoken language as both a vernacular and lingua Franca in Ethiopia, Kenya and in Somalia. Despite this, the governments of these countries have become less interested at this language to use it in the form of print media industry in general and for radio broadcasting in particular
for nearly one century. However, with the rise of nationalism and identity politics that was consolidated in the Horn after 1960, it became a paradox that the radio station of the three countries started to broadcast in Afaan Oromoo. Unfortunately, this issue of linguistic-identity politics has not been addressed in the studies of Oromoo history. Therefore, the paper explores how Afaan Oromoo became the language of broadcastings in these countries amid the struggle over identity politics in the region. It also examines the reactions of the Oromoo to these the broadcastings. This paper argues there is direct relationship between vernacular language and ethnic identity of its speakers. For this study, pertinent data were collected and the findings were presented qualitatively based on historical research methods using mainly narrative, descriptive, analysis and interpretation. The research findings reveal that Afaan Oromoo broadcasting for which only five minutes allowed was began by a few exiled Oromoo at Mogadishu in 1962 became one of those important languages that were transmitted from radio stations at Mogadishu, Nairobi and Harar. The exiled Oromoo wanted to reveal the Oromoo grievances and theirrejection, and to callonthe Oromoo masses in Ethiopia to rise up against the severe oppression they were subjected to. The Somali government increased the broadcasting time by allocating one hour duration on daily basis in order to conduct propaganda campaigns against Ethiopia. The Kenyan government also launched similar program in 1963 by allocating four hours transmission daily in order to counterattack the broadcasting from Mogadishu and to get the Oromoo support in Kenya against the Shifta War in the Northern Kenya. It was this situation that forced the Ethiopian government to launch the first radio broadcasting in Afaan Oromoo in 1972 at Harar to impress on the large Oromoo masses in Ethiopia. Through this process Afaan Oromoo became the contested language in the identity politics of the Horn of Africa and laid the foundation stone for the linguistic politics that followed the 1974 Ethiopian revolution. In fact, the linguistic politics not only brought Afaan Oromoo to become the language of radio broadcastings but also contributed to the consolidation of Oromoo Nationalism






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How to Cite
Tolessa (PhD), T. (2023). Resistance Movement and the Radio Broadcasting: A History of Afaan Oromoo Politics in the Horn, 1962 -1974. Gadaa Journal, 6(2), 22-36. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Tesfaye , Department of History,

Wollega University