Ethiopian News, Current Affairs and Opinion Forum

The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by Altaye » 04 Jan 2015, 13:14


The Kushitic (Cushitic) peoples of North East Africa are the indigenous peoples of the present day Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya since at least 5000 BC. The equivalent name of the indigenous Kushitic peoples of North East Africa was Ethiopid, from which the name of the present day Ethiopia was derived. Due to the dynamics of conflicts, migration, assimilation and other politico-demographic influences over the past seven millennia, the Kushitic population dwindled to a small minority in the Sudan, Eritrea and Kenya while they are still majorities in Ethiopia and Somalia. In Ethiopia over 52% of the current population of 80 million are Kushitic peoples while almost the entire population in Somalia is Kushitic.

The only Kushitic group living in the Sudan at present is the Beja people of the Southern Sudan while in Eritrea the Saho and the Afar form a significant proportion of the total population. The majority of the Afar people live in Ethiopia. Other Kushitic peoples living in Ethiopia at present are: Oromo (the largest Kushitic people in the continent with the total population of over 26 million); the Sidamas: Sidama, Alaba, Xamabaro, and Qewena (also known formerly as the Sidama Kingdom with the total population of over 8 million form the second largest Kushitic group in Ethiopia); and Ogadeni Somalis with the total population of over 5 million, represent the third largest group. Other smaller Kushitic groups in Ethiopia include Hadiya, Agaw, Burji, Maraqo and so on. In Kenya the Kushitic Rendille and Sakuye together with the Borena Oromo and Samalis occupy about 25 percent of land area but only about 3% of the total population.

The Kushitic civilization in the Upper Nile Valley of North East Africa reached its height during the second millennium BC. In the second millennium BC, the Kushitic Kingdom located in Nubia in the present day Sudan, was a major rival of Egypt while its influence extended well into sub-Saharan Africa. The Kingdom surivived well into the first millennium BC when it was finally defeated by the Nubian people [1]. However, other historians argue that the Kushitic Kingdom flourished in Meroe, South of its Nubia based former capital Napata for six more centuries until the third century AD.

However, the Kushitic civilization of the second and first millennium BC was overshadowed by the Egyptian influence and the most recent Axumite civilization. As a result little research has been done regarding the Kushitic kingdom and little is known about the great history of the Kushitic peoples of North East Africa. In particular, little is known about the Kushitic Pharaohs.

North East Africa is often cited as the center of some of the oldest civilizations in the world. As a matter of fact, there are scientific indications that East Africa is a cradle of humanity whereas some prominent historians point out that North East African civilization predates Greek Classical Civilization [2].

The rest of the article is organized as follows: section 2 presents an overview of the rise and decline of the Kushitic kingdom. Section 3 reviews the linguistic connectivity of Kushitic peoples while section 4 concludes.

The Rise and the Decline of the Kushitic Kingdom

When we talk about the great Pharaohs and the pyramids what often come to our mind are Egypt and the Egyptian civilization. There is nothing wrong with that. However, what is wrong is our continued ignorance about the great Kushitic Pharaohs who ruled Egypt and who built more pyramids in the present day Sudan than in Egypt itself.

The Kush kingdom was a great civilization in the Northern Valley of the Nile River. The kingdom began to rise at the end of the New Kingdom of Egypt which during the Pharaoh Tuthmoses III marched as far south as the fifth cataract of the Nile river. Historians have universally agreed that the Kushitic King Alara unified Upper Nubia around 780 BC declaring Napata (Northern Sudan), the capital while his successor King Kashata unified both the Upper and Lower Nubia and claimed for himself the title Pharaoh [3]. Other Kushitic Pharaohs include Pharaoh Piye or Piankhy who conquered Thebes and founded Egypt´s 25th Dynasty.

Lasting for a little less than 100 years, the 25th Dynasty had five Kushitic Pharaohs claiming the throne, the most famous being Pharaoh Taharqa. Leaving numerous monuments both in Egypt and Sudan, one of his most famous deeds was the restoration and building efforts in Karnak Temple, notes the First Court of Amun. Taharqa was a heroic war veteran and under his reign the Kushite Kingdom expanded as far as the borders of Libya and Palestine. Unfortunately for him, the Assyrians were rising exponentially and in no time they stormed Egypt, forcing Taharqa to flee Thebes and seek shelter in Napata [3].

Other historians describe the Kushitic rule in Egypt in the following manner. According to [4] eager to show his devotion to Egyptian deities, the Kushitic king Shabaka devoted particular attention to the ancient site of Memphis. From a document known as the Memphite Theology, which dates to the Old Kingdom, we are well informed on Memphite and Heliopolitan beliefs. Other indications of piety include the Kushite cap worn by these kings. It was similar to a cap worn by the god Ptah and stresses the special attention paid to Egyptian gods. Kushitic kings were also responsible for much expansion and renovation of existing temples in both Egypt and Nubia. Managing the God's Wife in Thebes also guaranteed their control of Thebes. It was also during the 25th Dynasty that important changes in Egyptian art appear. These include more realistic depiction of the human body as well as return to classical forms of the Old and Middle Kingdom. Nonetheless, once again the threat from abroad, in the form of the Assyrians, proved too much for the rulers of Egypt. Tantamani fled to Nubia, thus ending Kushitic rule in Egypt.

Little was known about the period between the retreat of Pharaoh Taharqa from Egypt to Napata (North Sudan) and the third century BC when Kushitic King Arkamani moved the capital from Napata further South to Meroe (midway between Khartoum and Atbara). [By the way, the names of Kushitc kings of the time had a suffix "amani" while the names of the Queens had the same word "amani" as a prefix. Today "amani" means "believe" in major Kushitic languages such as Sidama and Oromo]. The transfer of the Kushite Kingdom´s capital indicates a move from the dependency on Egypt as a base for culture and a step towards being a more indigenous civilization [3]. The move which involved limiting the excessive power of the Kushitic holy priests, also paved the way for the introduction of worshiping the local deities as opposed to adapting Egyptian ones, in particular the Egyptian Amun. Accordingly, the local god Apedemark was moved up the scale to an equal level with Amun and the use of hieroglyphics as a functional language was abandoned, to be replaced with Meroitic (Kushitic) script [3].

The Meroitic period of Kushitic civilization flourished for six centuries from third century BC to third century AD. However, the third century marked the beginning of the decline of the Kushitic civilization. The main reason for the decline in Kushitic civilization in Meroe was the decline in trade with Egypt which was then ruled by Romans who were themselves declining. Trade was the backbone of the Kushite economy and the declining trade between the two kingdoms weakened the kingdoms economy.

On the other side, South East of Meroe, the Kingdom of Aksum was growing in power around the third century AD. In 350 AD, Axumite King Ezana was able to capture Meroe and undermined the Kushitic civilization until the Agaw (Zagwe), Highland Kush, Dynasty recaptured it in 922 AD.

The Zagwe dynasty ruled in North east Africa between 922 AD (some argue that the period was earlier than this) when Aksum declined, until 1270 AD. The area under the Zagwe (Agaw) Dynasty probably included: the highlands of modern Eritrea, the whole of Tigray region of Ethiopia, and Wollo and Gonder provinces of the present Amhara region of Ethiopia. The most famous king of the Zagwe Kushitic Dynasty was King Lalibela who boosted Christianity in the country by building a cluster of miraculous rock hewn churches that are one of the UNESCO´s World heritage sites today.

After 1270 the Kushitic Civilization was generally weakened permanently. The Sidama Kingdom under the Sidama´s famous Queen Furra (in whose name a memorial College was built in 1996 in Yirgalem, Sidama) revived in much smaller scale in the present day Southern Ethiopia until the medieval era. However, since the late 1880s the majority Kushitic Ethiopians have been completely annexed by the northern Abyssinian settlers and have been subjected to wanton economic exploitation and political subjugation which resulted in the present day poverty and economic malaise.

The Linguistic Connectivity of the Kushitic Peoples

The history of over 4000 years of Kushitic civilization is preserved through the interconnections of Kushitic culture and languages. The Kushitic languages are a sub group of Afro-Asiatic languages. A prominent linguist Joseph Greenberg [5] divides Kushitic languages into 4 major subgroups. These include:

(a) Beja language (often placed outside Kushitic proper)

(b) Central Kushitic or Agaw language

(c) East Kushitic languages (Oromo, Sidama, Somali and Afar)

(d) South Kushitic or Rift valley languages (Iraqwe-Alagwa, Burunge and arguably Dahalo in Kenya and Tanzania)

The Beja language is spoken today by the nomads in parts of Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea while the Agaw language is spoken by small groups in Eritrea and Ethiopia including Agaw and Bilen. The East Kushitic languages are more diverse and comprise more than thirty languages belonging to Kushitic languages with in Afro-Asiatic Phylum [5]. Dahalo lanaguge spoken in Kenya is endangered as only 400 people spoke the language in 1997. Another linguist Richard Hayward [5] breaks up East Kushitic languages into further three well supported families. These are:

a) Sidamic or Highlands

b) A diverse low land Kush family (with Afar, Somli, and Oromo subgroups) and

c) Dullay which he believes should be treated separately when attempting to work out the internal relationships of the Kushitic languages.

The linguistic connectivity is the great heritage of the Kushitic peoples of North East Africa. Their common history and culture reflected in their common language provides an ample opportunity to revive their lost civilization. Together with other Africans in the region, the Kushitic peoples of North East Africa should work hand in hand for greater sub regional unification, economic development and poverty eradication.


The indigenous North East African Ethioipid (Kushitic peoples) belonged to a great civilization along the Upper Nile Valley during the second and first Millennium BC. The Kushites were the founders and the rulers of the 25th Dynasty in Egypt. During this period, the Kushitic Kingdom extended as far as Libya and Palestine. The rise and the decline of the various Kushite kingdoms continued in various parts of North East Africa until the late 1880s.

However, the 4000 years of great Kushitic civilization came to an end since the late 1880s when the various Kushitic kingdoms lost their sovereignty to Abyssinian colonizers in the case of the present day Ethiopia and European colonizers in other parts of the sub region. At present the majority Kushitic peoples in Ethiopia languish under poverty, hunger, unemployment and severe economic underdevelopment.

They have never meaningfully participated in the Ethiopian political leadership for over 120 years. These great peoples of North East Africa should therefore rise once again peacefully and work hand in hand with other Ethiopians to promote democracy, freedom, and eradicate poverty hunger and famine from the country and the sub region once and for all.


1] Katzner, K. 2002. The Languages of the World. Third edition. Routledge.

2] Wonderful Likely Continuity of North East Africa´s Long History - Part I: ... _Part1.htm

3] In the reign of the black Pharaohs. See ( ... raohs.html)

4] Karol Mysliwiec, 2000. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt First Millenium BCE. Translated by David Lorton. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Reviewed by Monica Bontty, UCLA, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2001 (

5] See ... -languages


Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by Shume » 05 Jan 2015, 00:58


Narrated by Abebe Kebede

Queen Fura was a famous queen in Sidamo who taught all the women how to behave, and they still follow her to this day. She was very wise. First she told them not to completely submit to men. Then, secondly, she told them not to be completely obedient. Then she told them to be shy and keep men guessing. She also told them never to show their private parts to men in public. So they should cover their bodies from the knee to the waist. She also told them that a woman should take good care of herself because men are attracted by beauty.

Unfortunately, Queen Fura was very bad to men. She gave them all sorts of impossible commands.
She would say, “Go to the river and bring me back water in a sieve.”

Or she would tell them to make big tubs out of very thin grass. Or she would pull out one of her long hairs and tell them to divide it into six. So she really gave them a hard time.

But most of all what she did was, she hated bald men and short men. So she ordered all short men and all bald men to be killed. Hundreds and hundred were killed except for one short man and one bald man. The short man wore shoes with big heels, so he survived (he invented high heels) and the other man wore a wig (he invented wigs).

Now the short man and the bald man didn’t know what to do about the queen. They thought maybe they should kill her. But that had two big problems. The first one was, you never in the tradition kill a woman. The second was, she was a queen after all. Therefore they didn’t know what to do.
So they thought and made a plan. They decided to catch a giraffe. So they chased all the giraffes in the area to a marshy swamp and they managed to catch one when it got bogged down in the marsh.
They called the queen and said, “You’re a great queen. You shouldn’t ride a normal animal. You should ride the tall, elegant giraffe.”

Because the giraffe was in the bog and had sunk down, the queen could easily mount her. Then they strapped the queen on to the giraffe’s back, chased the giraffe out of the marsh and the giraffe ran and ran and ran. The queen began falling to bits. Her head fell off somewhere. Her arm fell off somewhere. Her intestines fell out somewhere and her leg fell off somewhere. That’s why today in Sidamo you have towns with the name head, leg, body, intestines, hand. Oun, head, Godubore, intestines, Leka, leg, Anga, hand.

Arte Ghalib Samatar

Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by Arte Ghalib Samatar » 05 Jan 2015, 01:44

She sounds just like the man-hating tyrant Queen Caraweelo of Somali legends and the Jewish Agaw Queen Yodit. All three stories are also from Cushitic cultures of Ethiopia. Maybe it is one and the same person? ... ish-queen/

Posts: 1750
Joined: 16 Feb 2013, 02:30

Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by yaballo » 05 Jan 2015, 07:59


Fascinating. There is a similar folktale amongst the Borana & Gujji - neighbours of the Sidaama - known as "bara akko haa manooyye" [the era of grandma manoye] or simply the "manooyee" tales. This same character is also known by different names amongst the arsi-oromo & other communities in the region.

It was the story about a peculiar era when a terribly brutal woman named "manooyye" reigned over men. In a way, manooyye was the "Iron lady" [Mrs. Thatcher - the fearless former prime minister of UK] of these communities. Her rule didn't go down very well amongst the menfolk.

She was accused of passing absurd laws that, among other things, asked men to bring a bag [silicha] full of fleas from cattle & donkey enclosures - which was the most illogical, harsh & impossible-to-complete task ever given according to the men. Imagine how difficult it is to catch just one flea, let alone a silicha-full. :mrgreen:

She also passed laws that made women heads of households with full rights to dictate who does what & how to manage family finances [herds]. She also gave girls equal rights in inheriting the family herd. Before then & since, first-born male [angafa] of the family &, to a lesser extent his brothers, inherit the family herd. Mrs. manooyye was the first feminist ruler in the history these societies.

In the end, men got together & plotted the most dramatic & empathic way to murder her. They dug a deep hole under a large shed tree where she passed all those absurd laws; planted ten very sharp spears in the hole (sharp-ends facing upward of course); covered the hole with a beautiful hide; then put a nicely embroidered leather chair on top of the hole/hide; & invited her to wittiness the delivery of her unbelievably harsh command of collecting a bag full of fleas.

Reluctantly, she proceeded to the venue of the ceremony & was invited to sit on that chair by the most handsome young man in the country. The sight of this beautiful young man impaired her sense of judgment & she sat on the edge of the chair. She fell into the hole & impaled herself to death on those sharp spears.

But she didn't die straight away. Instead, she shouted out another absurd law while being impaled....

The End.

Posts: 1526
Joined: 16 Nov 2013, 13:15

Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by kerenite » 06 Jan 2015, 06:30

I believe your history should be revisited and re-written once again.

The alleged queen is no where mentioned in any of your history books which were authored by your famous historian Tekletsadiq Mekuria or others as well.

To make things wose, even the recent Oromo queen Mestewat of Wollo (1860s) is mentioned by Tekletsadiq Mekuria as yegalla balabat albeit contemporary historians address her as the queen of the Gallas.

I tend to believe the contemporary white historians.


Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by metti » 06 Jan 2015, 11:32

Good article but with many mistakes needs to rewrite. Abyssina was the most part of Kush not came from external world .The name of Abyssina from brave kings Abasha and Habasha .
To write an ancient history we should be wise not to be narrow mind

Posts: 1750
Joined: 16 Feb 2013, 02:30

Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by yaballo » 07 Jan 2015, 07:05

metti wrote:Good article but with many mistakes needs to rewrite. Abyssina was the most part of Kush not came from external world .The name of Abyssina from brave kings Abasha and Habasha .
To write an ancient history we should be wise not to be narrow mab/ind

The name or identity 'Abasha' or 'Abyssinia' was derived from an Arab tribe of what is today Yemen called the 'Habashat'. In that sense, 'Habasha' was not a 'kushitic' [African/'Black] identity but a reference to a non-African/Semitic identity. Your 'brave' kings known as 'Abasha or 'Habasha' were nothing more than Semitic/Yemeni/Arab colonizers of what is today Ethiopia/Horn of Africa.

That is:

The original founding people of the empire of the 'Habashat/Abyssinia/Ethiopia' [Yemeni Arabs &/or their descendants] had NOTHING whatsoever to do with the indigenous Kushitic, Agaw, Sidama, Oromo, Somali or Omotic peoples of what is today Ethiopia.

Ethiopia's official myth of origin, the saga where the Queen of Sheba [Yemini] had sex with a Jewish king named Solomon [member of another Semitic tribe] to give birth to the founder of Ethiopia's Solomonic dynasty, is essentially an 'out-of-Africa' myth/story that does NOT appeal to the real indigenous peoples of the Horn of Africa; namely, the Agew, Shanqilla, Sidama, Oromo, Somali, Omotic, etc, peoples.

If you insist on pushing the myth that the founding fathers of Ethiopia were essentially Semitic peoples who had links to Arabs-Jews-Falashas; that is fine.

But, keep in mind that the REAL indigenous peoples of the Horn of Africa - namely the Agaw, Oromo, Sidama, Somali, Shanqilla, etc, would NOT agree with you. OK?

Off course the Falashas think they are Jews first & maybe Ethiopians fifth...

Senior Member
Posts: 14142
Joined: 17 Feb 2013, 08:24

Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by Zack » 07 Jan 2015, 18:54

Yaballo made some great points Habasha is Habashat and Habashat is ancient Yemeni province thus that makes the Habashas Abyssinians outsiders and Foreigners and not indigenous to the horn of Africa. Thats very hard for the die hard Abyssinians or the Jew loving Amharas to Swallow or even to rebuttal to say the least.

Posts: 6250
Joined: 27 Sep 2009, 19:43
Location: Zemunda

Re: The famous Queen Furra of Sidama, Ethiopia

Post by Misraq » 08 Jan 2015, 01:07

Zack wrote:Yaballo made some great points Habasha is Habashat and Habashat is ancient Yemeni province thus that makes the Habashas Abyssinians outsiders and Foreigners and not indigenous to the horn of Africa. Thats very hard for the die hard Abyssinians or the Jew loving Amharas to Swallow or even to rebuttal to say the least.
French wh0re :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Adam and Eve are not indeginious to the planet earth too. So who owns the planet earth? The French

Post Reply