INDIGENOUS INSTITUTIONS OF COMMUNICATION AMONG THE SIDAMA: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY, ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY IN SIDAMA REGIONAL STATE, ETHIOPIA
Keywords:Indigenous Knowledge, Communication, Sidama
This project strives to comprehensively understand, value, and conserve those communication systems that the Sidama people employ for the past many generations. It further attempted to assess the patterns of changes, challenges, and prospects facing the development of indigenous cultural institutions by taking three woredas as a case. Moreover, I delved into understanding the competing performance of indigenous vis-à-vis modern institutions of communication practices. In this study, I was not only interested in knowledge creation for academic consumption but also in indicating possible ways of integrating modern and indigenous institutions of communication systems for sustainable community development. Methodologically, I have approached concepts like indigenous knowledge and communication as socially constructed. Under the shade of social construction worldview, a qualitative research design was employed to study the research topic and qualitative data were collected through a participatory research approach involving interactive research methods such as in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observations. The findings of the study revealed that the indigenous communication system has paramount importance in transmitting information between persons and groups for the Sidama society since the day’s technologies and modern means of communication were not apparent. Despite the current dominant nature of modern institutions of communication, the Sidama has continued to endure in the day-to-day communal context of the rural society and serving their purposes to the satisfaction of the rural people by fulfilling their desire for information about local events, the necessity to spread information about political and religious decisions as well as threats to security. It was recommended that the role of both indigenous and modern communication systems linkage is paramount for grassroots mobilization and development.