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.