Unfinished Amharization process in Ethiopia and Kemants’ Quest for Dignity and Self-Rule

By Mizigena A

Amharization was and still is the process forcing people under Amhara government in Ethiopia to accept Amhara culture, language, religion and etc.

The Agaw are perhaps first mentioned in the 3rd-century AD Aksumite inscription recorded by Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century. The inscription refers to a people called “Athagaus” (or Athagaous), perhaps from Ad Agaw, meaning “sons of Agaw.”[The Athagaous first turn up as one of the peoples conquered by the unknown king who inscribed the Monumentum Adulitanum Monumentum. The Agaw are later mentioned in an inscription of the 4th-century Aksumite King Ezana and 6th-century King Kaleb. Based on this evidence, a number of experts embrace a theory first stated by Edward Ullendorff and Carlo Conti-Rossini that they are the original inhabitants of much of the northern Ethiopian highlands, and were either forced out of their original settlements or assimilated by so called Semitic speaking Tigray-Tigringya and Amhara People Cosmas Indicopleustes also noted in his Christian Topography that a major gold trade route passed through the region “Agau”. The area referred to seems to be an area east of the Tekeze River and just south of the Semien Mountains, perhaps around Lake Tana.
They currently the language speakers exist in a number of scattered enclaves, which include the Bilen in and around Keren in Eritrea; the Qemant (Kemant) who live around Gondar in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, west of the Tekezé River and north of Lake Tana; a number of Agaw live south of Lake Tana, around Dangila in the Agew Awi zone of the Amhara Region; and another group live around Sokota in the former province of Wollo, now part of the Amhara Region, along its border with the Tigry Region.
The Cushitic speaking Agaw people ruled during the Zagwe dynasty of Ethiopia from about 900 to 1270. The name of the dynasty itself comes from the Ge’ez phrase Ze-Agaw (meaning “of Agaw”), and refers to the Agaw people.

The Agaw speak Agaw languages, which are a part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Many also speak Amharic, Tigrinya and/or Tigre, which are also Afro-Asiatic languages.

The Qemant (Qementy), the part of Agaw is an ethnic group in Ethiopia, who has close historical and ethnic relationship with Beta Israel and adhered almost to similar Orit (Judaism) religion sect
According to 1994 census, the ethnic population was roughly 172,000 (which isless than actual numbers); the latest available national census, the one conducted in 2007, does not even list them as a separate group. During this census they were counted annexed to Amahra despite of their resistance. Even if we projected based on 1994, the current population of Qemant estimated to be more than 500,000.
The Qemant live along an axis stretching from Gondar town and its environ to Aykel, Metema, Quara north to Lake Tana in the woredas and North west of Gondar in Lay Armachiho, Wogera, Dembia and South of Gondar Gondar Zuria.
The Qemant traditionally practiced a religion which is often described as Hebraic that has elements of Judiasm. According to the American scholar Frederic C. Gamst, their “Hebraism is an ancient form and unaffected by Hebraic change of the past two millennia”. A recent sociolinguistic survey notes that the Qemant religion is in a very precarious situation since very few people still adhere to it. This time around, almost 99% of Qemant people converted to Ethiopian Orthodox and it is only 1% who follows the Qemant religion. The Sabath is observed on Saturday, when it is forbidden to light a fire.
Their language is qementeny belongs to Afro-Asiatic one. However from the domination of the people whom called themselves Amahara Kemanty (Qemanty) language is endangered.
Qemant live in integrated geography, the people have common understanding that they are Qemant and even their neighbouring Amhara Called them Qemant (sometimes the Amhara people use this word as derogatory). The Qemant Quest for self dignity and self rule since the EPRDF is in power. But the Amhara Government forcefully annexed Qemant to be Amhara and the process of assimilation is still continuing forcefuly, or systematicaly in Amhara Region.
We, therefore, call upon all Ethiopians, especially these former or present vicitums of Amharization and international communities to support the nonviolence struggle of Qemant’s for self dignity and self rule as per the constitution of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia. One means of support is dissaminating information about sufferings of the Kemant people to concern international bodies.


Neither do articles published on this site necessarily reflect an editorial policy of the WLKA nor its position on issues expressed by respective authors.

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6 Responses to Unfinished Amharization process in Ethiopia and Kemants’ Quest for Dignity and Self-Rule

  1. TESFAYE says:


    • Kemant-Amhara

      what you have said is right . we are deprived of all our rights exercising our religion , norms , values and of course our languages. The amharas saying that we are unclean but we shall be clean when we accpt the amharas religion o fcourse orthdox christianity. Nevertheless we are clean as every human being is clean and free of guilties from the beginning . we have to struggle for our identities not to kill others as the amharas did on us . we shall triumph as we proceed peacefully and we shall fill proud of that we don’t accept christianity becasuse we have our religion . we don’t accept domination only becase we are few in numbers today it is all the effects the unfinished amharisation process .
      Every qemant is supposed to read the book entiteled qemant apagan hebraic society of the agaw family written by an american scholar FREDERICK C. GAMST how we have been tortured and humiliated by the then pro Amhara ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN govermentts . I am not saying that we have to retaliate and revenge to day what their ancestors did on qemant but we have to know what is the cuase and effects why our quemant community language , culture and proudness of being quemant has detoriareted in the past 1000 years of the amhara dominant regimes and their so called orthodox scholars saying that “”QUEMANT ARE UNCLEAN “”WE ARE MUCH MORE CLEANER THAN THEM BECAUSE WE ARE HARD WORKING PEOPLES WE EAT WHAT WE HAVE HARVESTED UNLIKE THEIR ORTHODOX CLERGIES PRIESTS AND DEACONS WHO EAT THE PEASANTS BREAD BY THE NAME OF GOD.
      When it comes to taking the land of quemant and giving to the so called investors who were 40 years ago land lords is not new becuse as Gamst written in his book non amharas were not entiteled to own apiece of land unless and oterwise they accepted christianity and live after the wills of amhara elites, Gojjamis did . IT is apackage of offer for a quemant being christian forget his language , respecting the amhara culture food religion wedding ceremony …..etc ang getting the land to till as apeasant for the amhara feudals of the time . If aquemant says no then he will be hand crafts man then they got agood chance to call him KAILA , BUDDA SO that all the members of the community will be systematically stigmatisedand gradually afraid of themselves to accept the amhara package of othodoxy ,amharic language, being a tenant ,live according to the amharas culture norms and tabos unwillingly .
      This is what makes quemant psuedopodic person quemant at home LIKE QUEMANT BUT act like amhara in the market and in the churces and other public areas. i have two episodes my self the effects of of being amhara and christian unwillingly come across many negative episodes . when Qemant lady get married with amhara famlies her quemant parents are afraid that she will get problems with her man if one day discovered that she were Quemant. it is precisely because of the amhara domination . because of that she distance all of her quemant families so that she can be accepted that she is originally amhara and “CLEAN FROM THE BEGINNING” that not before she was amharised this a menal torture.
      The other episode is when achild grows with his quemant mother who acts like amhara outside and quemant at homefearing the amharas stigmatisation process the child gets confused because his mother gives QUANTA or dried meat on sunday morning in the midth of march while the ortodox followers are in the big fasting month OR ABIY TSOM in amharic while every amhara boys are fasting aqemant boy is eating meat because her mother don’t accept christianity inherently. Then what will be the fate of this child?OFCOURSE NO choice ha must accept what his neighbourhood childrens are doing if not he will be isolatedand stigmatised . it is the way how QUEMANT BECOMES THE ENDENGERED SPECIES OF ETHIOPIA AS WALIYA. I believe disappearance of Qemants and other Agaws from the surface of the land can be prevented if they stand up together for their rights and dignity.

  2. anteneh says:

    wayene is running to devastate the amhara people. one of of the strategy is producing enemies for the Amara nation.
    what we know is it is unlikely.
    no power will eliminate 40 million people.
    we amaras build a large nation Ethiopia
    we defended our country by our blood and bone
    we build a religion
    our philosophy is togetherness not dominance
    do you think that all these are crimes against humanity? no no no….
    kenifasu gar eyenefesachihu bemokebet eyezefenachihu hizibachinin batakoslut tirunew

    • Mizigena says:

      Dear Anteneh,
      Wishing you Happy Ethiopian new year I would like to comment something.
      Amahra region is forcefully annexed Qemant people to be Amhara .This is What Mizigana said unfinished Amharization. Why do you blame Woyane for nothing. If you are really genuine and logical, blame ANDM that try to assimilate Qemant with ‘Amhara’. This is an insult for Amhara people itself. . Qemant-agaw is not Amhara, vice versal. In other words, Qemant canot become Amhara by no means . Enough is enough. Ask your mum or dad either they will tell you you yourself is qemant or you are psedo-solomonic. Because Amhara claim its origin from the middle east and Agew Qemant claim it is an indigenous Ethiopian unlike some false historian that tells wrongly the origin of Qemant. Unless you accept unity by diversity Ethiopia will go into continuous war. We only claim that we are Qemant. We have said nothing about disintegration. No matter what your number is. we will ensure our rights sooner or later.

  3. Mizigena says:

    Dear Anteneh
    I forgot something. Woyane has no any strategy to disintegrate Amhara but it is ANDM that forcefully assimilate non Amhara people with claimed Amhara. Besides, your enemy is your attitude towards others. If you love me I will you, if you hate me I will hate you. Love Qemant people and Qemant will love you. Hate Qemant Qemant will hate you

  4. Gebrieeyesuss Hailemechiel says:

    who is Amhara ? Who is Ethiopia ?

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