Social Stigmatization of Manjo People and its Socio-Economic and Environmental Implications, the Cases of Bonga and Dawro Towns and Their Environs
AbstractThe Manjo People are among the most marginalized groups from the many nations and nationalities in southern parts of Ethiopia. They have been excluded from various social services and standards. Hence, the main objective of this study was to assess livelihood, folklore and marginalization of the Manjo people as well as the implications of marginalization on the environment. It was conducted in Bonga and Dawro towns and their environs. The study was a qualitative descriptive survey. For the study, 20 resourceful persons were selected by using purposive sampling method both from the insiders and the outsiders. Methods of data collection included active observation, interview and case study. Photographs and video records were also involved. The study disclosed that folklore is one of the major instruments that help to deepen and sustain marginalization of the Manjo people. Folklore makes the Manjo to believe and accept the stereotype that they are weaker, less intellect, inferior, less human than the non-Manjo; on the contrary, it assists the non-Manjo to rationalize their mistreating of the Manjo people in public. Even if attempts were made to minimize the problem of marginalization, in some cases, the attempts further worsened the problem. This was because of the fact that while some enlightened Manjo claimed equal rights, some conservative non-Manjo opposed the claims. The study also revealed that the people of Manjo have less access to various natural resources than the non-Manjo. As a result, they are forced to engage in less productive, environmentally unfriendly and precarious activities like in fuel wood and charcoal production and sale, pottery and hunting. Alleviating the problem of marginalization of the Manjo people should involve a prior in depth analysis and understanding of the problem, the folklore and the popular attitude before any attempt of intervention. Improving access of the Manjo people to various natural resources and assisting them to raise their productivity and income can also help change their food ways and in turn attitude of the non Manajo to towards them as well as can help to minimize the negative impacts of their way of life on the environment.
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