Ethiopia/Konso (New York in Africa)


Konso, is a small town in Southern Ethiopia at 1650masl, with a population of about 5,000 souls who live primarily from cultivating and weaving cotton, beekeeping and general agriculture. There is a market on Mondays and Thursdays just out of town along the road towards Jinka.
Named after the Konso people, the town with 5,500ha of surrounding landscape has been declared a World Heritage Site for its traditional landscape with terraced agriculture and typical villages in 2011. Important features are the unique designs of the houses, the organization of the 32 dwellings behind 1 to 6 rows of defensive stone walls as well as nearby fossil beds. The communities also build traditional reservoirs to supply the villages with water during the dry season. The terraces are built behind up to 5m high stone walls to prevent soil erosion and maximize the collection of rainwater, so as to enhance agricultural production.The wooden statues, called Wakas or Wagas and stone steles, represent important family members as well as heroic events at burial sites. Villagers will gather at the Mora, a public gathering spot where the pafta, a large hut, and Olahitas, the central location for cultural ceremonies. In these areas they would perform rituals, dances, food preparations, and weaving; all of the wonderful aspects of Konso heritage.
The architecture of the Konso villages is is different from traditional houses and dwellings elsewhere. The Konso people live in fortified villages enclosed by stone walls.
Waka or waga sculptures representing the dead.Wakas or wagas are statues representing diseased family members.
The primary cash crop in the Konso Region is cotton, which is sold at the local market.
The women in Konso go beautifully dressed in long dresses, which are locally woven.