Tsamai people

The Tsamai people (also spelled Tsemay, Tsamay, Tsemai, Tsamako, or Tsamakko) are an ethnic group of southwestern Ethiopia. They speak an East Cushitic language called Tsamai, which is in the Dullay subgroup. As such, it is related to the Bussa and Gawwada languages.

According to the 1998 Ethiopian census, the Tsamai number 9,702. The number of speakers of the Tsamai language is 8,621, with 5,298 monolinguals. [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tsb] Many Tsamai use the Konso language for trade purposes. [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tsb]

Most Tsamai live in the Hamer Bena woreda of the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, in the Lower Omo River Valley and just to the west of the Konso special woreda. Many Tsamai live in the town of Weyto, which is approximately 50 km from the town of Jinka, on the Konso-Jinka road.

Most Tsamai are agro-pastoralists, herding cattle as well as growing crops. Many Tsamai women wear clothing made from leather. Many Tsamai men carry small stools around with them, which they use in case they need to sit down.

They have a very low level of literacy: below 1% in their first language and 2.8% in their second language. [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tsb]

The Tsamai live in an area that is frequented by adventure tours, and thus are a frequently photographed people. [http://www.sydertravel.com/mad/webpage.php?cat=276] [http://www.infohub.com/vacation_packages/7125.html]

External links

* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tsb Ethnologue entry for Tsamai]
* [http://www.davestamboulis.com/omo.html Article about Tsamai] by Dave Stamboulis
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/davestamboulis/23177655/in/set-533674/ Photo of young Tsamai girl] by Dave Stamboulis
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/davestamboulis/23177656/in/set-533674/ Photo of Tsamai men] by Dave Stamboulis
* [http://www.travelblog.org/Africa/Ethiopia/blog-59341.html Article about Tsamai]
* [http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Africa/Ethiopia/photo330417.htm Photo of Tsamai woman]

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