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 I got an e-mail last night from one of my regular readers, Yaya, telling me my last post on Queen Furra got her curisoity going and asked me if I knew any material written about her and could direct her to it.I looked up in Encyclopadia Aethiopica (Harrasssowitz Verlag, 2005) and I found a half page entry written by a certain Anbessa Teferra.Here it is.

The orgin of Furra, the legendary queen of the Sidama, is not clear.According to Gasparini, she was the wife of Ahmad b.Ibrahaim al-Gazi (Gragn, known as Diingamo Koyya among the Sidama).Others claim that Furra’s father was an honourable clan leader during the 14th or 15th cent. and when he passed away, she was made queen because she was the eldest daughter.

According to some legends, Furra was a brutal ruler who, in particular, harshly repressed the men.Thus males were required to do all the household jobs which were customarily done by women.These included preparing food, scraping the Enset, fetching water, cleaning the house, etc.Women, on the other hand, seemed to have fared better.Furra is said to have advised them not to show the amount of butter which they collect after shaking the milk and never openly to express an affection for men.

Furra made some impossible demands, such as bringing fresh milk from Alata Wondo to her palace in Malga Wando (a distance of ca.80km), slaughtering for her a bull without chyme, building her a house between sky and the earth.

A wise old man, Hayyicha. who escaped Furra’s murder of all elder Sidama, provided ingeniuos solutions to her challenges.Furras’s death was hastened when she demanded a faster means of transport.Thus, according to the ploy of the wise old man, she was put on a hartebeest, to which her legs and hands were tightly bound.Her body parts started to disintigrate when the heartbeest started to gallop.It is claimed some presnt day place names in Sidama refer to the body parts of Furra which disintigrated and fell off during her final fatal ride.Thus we have Dase (Dasa, forearm), Qege (qeho, shoulder blade), Hallo (hallo, hip), qubbe (qubbe, fingers) etc.Sidam women have a fond memory of her and she still is mentioned in the thier lullabies.

Related links

Queen Furra’s lament

Categories: Profile
  1. Yaya
    January 10, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Thanks a lot for bieng helpful.Keep it up.

  2. May 23, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    I can not stop laughing after I read this. I´ve heared of stories about Furahh before. but What made me laugh was first how the story was told either by you or the Encyclopedia.

    1. I don´t know why women have to always be mentioned in a context of men. Like Furahh was a daughter of so and so or a wife of so and so. Its like her existance has to be some how realted with men.

    2. What was so crule about what she did. If you think about it ,those are the things women have always been doing. And also women travel for hours to get water now a days ..right ? I really don´t get what crulity we see in what she did.

    3. A lot of the rules on what women or men should do generates from ´´wise old men´I think she got a point in killing them,Seriously!

    Keep up the good work

  1. April 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

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