First Issue

Editorial and Letters to The Editor

The Meaning of Ogina by Maya Tessema

"..I came to the fundraiser not only as a supporter of the event, but also as an opportunist. As a member of the new-ish Arts and Culture committee of the International Oromo Youth Association, I was in search of what Oromo arts are and what they have the potential to be..."

Film and Drama

The Fallen Beats by Dhaba Wayseeya

Visual Art and Photography


I Represent by Hana Tesfaye-Berhanu

"I represent a generation, A nation that has forgotten where— Caught up in who, what, when, Forgotten to ask, Forgotten to ask, why?..."


Guilty Conscience Speaking by Efrata T. Obsa

"Harmee and Ababa, Akko and Akaaka, Your sisters your brothers, Uncles, aunties, cousins and others ..."


The Future is Here
by Ziyad Kadir

"Together we stand, divide we fall, We came together to stand up tall, To step forward and to never fall, Its time to pick up our mothers call..."


Jiruu Deega
by Ziyad Kadir

"Jiruu deega jiru seete? Osoo deemtu karatti dutee, Shamaa mara lafa futee, Afaanin qabdee lafa buftee, Jiruu tann jiru jeete..."


The Oromo Renaissance by Dr. Steven W. Thomas

"Clearly, something is in the air. And something important is on the horizon. But what? What will an Oromo Renaissance look like? It is difficult to write about the future, especially from the perspective of an outsider—as I am obviously not myself an Oromo—but that is precisely the task of my essay...."


by Hana Tesfaye-Berhanu

"When I came to the United States I was very young, about five years old. I remember getting on an airplane and waiving to family members and friends as tears constantly ran down their faces....."


Organic Oromian Coffee - An Interview with Joe Riemann of Equal Exchange

"This spring, the fair-trade co-op Equal Exchange re-named one of its coffee’s “Organic Oromian.” The editors of Ogina interviewed Joe Riemann to learn what he thinks about the fair-trade movement, globalization, and the Oromo struggle......



Who are the Contributors?"

Contributors to Ogina volume 1, issue 1 (summer 2008)

Abdiwak Dawit Yohannes was born in Missouri and now lives in Minnesota. This fall he begins his first year at Bethel University where he will study media communications and graphic art and design. Most of his art stems from photography and the altering of his own photos, but he also uses the medium of drawing.

Dhaba Wayessa has written five plays, two novels (Godanissa and Gurracha Abbaya), and three films. His play Beyond the Darkness, produced for the Ethiopian National Theater in 1991, was the first modern stage-play in Afan Oromo. He came to the United States in 1995 to study film at Howard University, where he received a Masters in Fine Arts in 2004. The short film “Fallen Beats”—featured here in this issue of Ogina—was produced in 2001 and was shown on VOA television. It won three awards, including the Black Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame Award. He is currently working on a new feature length film called Halkan Dorrobaa.

Efrata T. Obsa was born in Finfinne, Oromia, and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Hana Tesfaye-Berhanu was born in Nekemte, and moved to the United States at the age of five in 1990.  She is a 2007 graduate of Hamline University where she majored in English and minored in Education and Communication Studies. She has a passion of working with the youth and looks forward to becoming a teacher. She currently resides in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and is happily married to Ebassa Berhanu.

Maya Tessema is a legal assistant working and living in the Washington DC metropolitan area. She began participating in the creation of Ogina zine through work in the Arts and Culture Committee of the International Oromo Youth Association.

Rammy Mohamed is an undergraduate student in Economics at University of Minnesota. She is expected to graduate in 2010. She immigrated from Oromia to the United States at the age of 13 in 1998. Out of her many hobbies, she loves paint. Most of her art works celebrate the Oromo nation and heritage.

Siraj K. lives in Norway. He is currently working on a translation of Open Office software into Afan Oromo and hopes to recruit other bilingual Oromo to get involved. Please contact him if you think you can help.

Steven W. Thomas is an assistant professor of English literature at The College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Minnesota. He has published scholarly articles on eighteenth-century literature and on twenty-first century globalization.

Zakia Posey is a graduate student in anthropology at Michigan State University and is writing her dissertation on Oromo transnationalism. She hopes to get her Ph.D. in 2009.

Ziyad Kadir was born in Abomsa, Oromia. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, Duluth where he studies Mechanical Engineering. He likes to write poems, songs and short plays.