The Dorze is a small ethnic group in Ethiopia who speak a language in the Omotic family. Numbering approximately 28,000, they live primarily in the southern region of the country, though some have migrated to Addis Ababa and other regions. Many Dorze live in villages near the cities of Chencha and Arbaminch, which are located in the Semien Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (formerly in the Gamu-Gofa province). Weaving is a primary profession for many Dorze.

IMG_9460Well known cotton weavers, the Dorze tribe were once warriors.  They are famous for their cotton woven cloths and beehive huts.  The Dorze people live in large communities north of Addis Ababa.  They cultivate their own food and prevent erosion by terracing along the mountainside.  In their farmlands, the Dorze will grow highland cereals.  They also grow spices, vegetables; fruits and tobacco within their compound.Women of the Dorze tribe have most of the responsibility in the family.  They must take care of any children and all of the house choirs.  The women are also responsible for cooking, spinning cotton and collecting firewood.  Male tribal members spend most of their time on the farm or building huts.  Sometimes you will find them weaving material to use for different things.  The Dorze people wear colourful toga robes called shammas. They are very popular throughout Ethiopia.

A Dorze hut is made up of hard wood poles, woven bamboo, Enset and other natural materials.  It can stand two stories tall and last up to 80 years.  Inside the main hut, you will find a fire place, a seating area and bedrooms.  Smaller huts can include guest houses, a workshop, a kitchen and even cattle shed.  When termites attack the hut, the Dorze can just remove it from its foundation and relocate it.  This allows the home to last much longer, but every move shortens the height of the hut.