Esset Soul Of The Gurage

Seifu Woldeyohannes Haile
33 minutes

Esset resembles a banana tree. Because of the resemblance, it is so called false banana. It has ever green long leaves, a big stem and edible bulb like root. As compared to other plants, Esset is not grown for its fruit. The whole plant, the stem or trunk and the root, is used as food after careful preparation. Growing this plant is a tiresome venture. From birth to harvest it takes long years. Meanwhile, since it doesn't require a large area of land it remained the major means of livelihood to the Gurage people. Esset serves as vehicle for the social organization of the people. Acquisition of wealth, rank, and gender roles are associated with the plant. For example, the wealth of a family is exhibited by number and the quality of Esset they own. In addition, it also serves as a milestone in the description of the Gurage identity.

Producer / Production company: 
Visual Cultural Studies, The Arctic University of Norway
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