Among the non-Abyssinian peoples of Ethiopia the Agau they are perhaps the one that has been most reduced in number and cultural independence since the Abyssinian conquest. However, and indeed for this very reason, the isolation of the surviving nuclei of Agau is proverbial: “Why stop at the door of the others? Agau is for Agau”. Agau paganism, as everywhere among the Cushitic peoples, had as its supreme divinity the celestial vault, the God-Heaven, who was venerated on the peaks of the mountains. Typical of the Agau are the fortified caves, refuge of these mountaineers against the raids and armed expeditions that have hunted them over the centuries. Some Agau people converted to Judaism have formed the Falascià group (v.), Which today is disappearing.
According to collegesanduniversitiesinusa, South of the Blue Nile the Sidama they were also ethnically influenced more by Niloti and Negri than the Agau. In Sidama paganism, next to the Sky-God who has the sun for his eye, the typically black concept of minor deities appears, who by means of special rites can be forced to incarnate into initiates for whose voice they then give responses and orders. In the Caffa the king was forced, in order to limit the power of the initiates to the rite of Doccio (one of these incarnating deities), to have people admitted that the greatest manifestations were when Doccio was incarnated in the king himself. A Sidama people, the Zingerò or Yam of the upper Gibè, is the only Ethiopian population that has preserved up to the present day the human sacrifices, periodically carried out in the various months of the year; it seems to be an expiatory rite. The Zingeròs themselves also have the
The Sidama, like the Guraghie and other people of southern Ethiopia, use, in their defense, dwellings located in dense thickets of Musa ensete, which, encircling the hut, protect all accesses. It was therefore customary, in the local wars, to impose on the vanquished the cutting of ensets around the huts: what limited their means of defense for a certain time.
The Gallas have borrowed their social structure from the Negroes; and the gad ā of the Galla tribes are the age classes of the Bantu Negroes. Equally non-Cushitic is the use of stone or wooden funerary statuettes: a use recently reported by the Galla. The Borana apparently use to bury the dead in a crouched position after having “prepared” the dying person by tying him with vines.
The Ghimira people (western Sidama) have a similar custom, who probably learned it from the Niloti.
All these populations (Agau, Sidama, Galla) consider as low caste some people dedicated to hunting who live scattered in the plateau. Such are the Wata, hunters living with the Galla; the Mangio, Caffa hunters; the Mana, hunters and tanners, living with the Sidama of the Omo. These people, who do not marry the Galla, Agau, etc., often have their own jargon that seems to retain traces of their ethnic history. Probably in them there are superimposed lineages of “pariah” of the various invaders to some primitive nucleus of indigenous people subjected in ancient times.
The only Nilotic people certainly included within the current borders of Ethiopia are the Miekèn (called Sciuro or Suro dai Caffini), residents of the lower Omo valley. A characteristic custom of the Miekèn is to keep the corpses, wrapped in cowhides, hanging inside the family hut; and this until it is not possible to perform the rite of offerings and funeral banquets.