Children and the Mingi Curse among the Kara Community


  • Binayew Tamrat Lecturer in School of Social Science and Humanities, Adama Science and Technology University
  • Haimanot Alemayehu Lecturer in the Department of History, Jinka University



mingi curse, child abuse and violence, South Omo, structural violence


There is a dominant discourse emphasizing the values of traditional practices in enhancing social cohesion, unity and cooperation in Ethiopia. Though this is an undisputed truth, there are untold accounts about the demerits of traditional practices negatively affecting societal groups specially women and children in different societies. Mingi curse is one such cultural practices that severely affects children, girls and women in the South Omo Zone. Though its severity ranges from infanticide and death of those individuals identified as cursed, to affecting the number of the Kara community, this practice did not catch the attention of scholars and policy makers. Apart from the anecdotal notes about the practise, there is no comprehensive research done on the theme. By taking the Kara community of Hamer woreda as a case, this article examines the socio-cultural grounds of the practise, its commonality among the Kara community and consequences of Mingi as a traditional practice. Regardless of prior initiatives in countering Mingi curse tradition, the practice is still prevalent among the Kara community. This paper thus discusses the various factors that contributed to sustain the practice despite the various efforts made by different stakeholders. By drawing on the ethnographic study and lived experience of the study participants, the article elucidates how the Mingi practice violates human rights in the form of structural violence.