The Dassanetch: - People of Circumcision

They speak a completely different language and are actually the Cushitic speaking group of the Omo Valley. The most important ritual of the Dassanetch is the so-called dime. In theory, only a man who has had a daughter can be circumcised, although in practice, circumcision is carried out on the entire age-group. The daughter is most important in the dime ceremony. After the ceremony, which takes six weeks, the participants are upgraded to 'great men', or those that may engage in politics. The dime ritual is directly connected to the upcoming marriage of the daughter when large quantities of cattle are slaughtered for the occasion.

The Dassanech or Gallab are numbering about 13,000 and live throughout the delta area of the Omo River in various sized villages, spread over numerous islands. Although they consider themselves pastoralists, they also practice flood retreat cultivation on the vast expanses of the delta. Over the years, during periods of drought, the Dassanech hosted members of different tribes seeking relief from hunger. Thus their cultural practices are more related those of the Kenyan Samburu and Rendille tribes with whom they share the custom of male and female circumcision.

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