Hawecha: The Dreamer (Oromo community) (2019) by Shujaa StoriesNational Museums of Kenya
Hawecha: The Story of The Oromo Dreamer
Two hundred years ago, a girl called Hawecha was born into the Oromo community. At a time when men ruled the world and young women had no authority over anything, Hawecha became a powerful leader and the greatest prophetess of the Oromo.
The Oromo live in the vast semi-arid expanse of what is today the Kenya-Ethiopia border in East Africa.
Hawecha came from small Oromo family. Her father died early in her childhood and she was raised by her mother. She had a baby sister, Dhaki, who died while young, robbing her mother and her of happiness. Hawecha’s early life was that of a typical Oromo girl as spent much of her time herding goats. But, thereafter she began to exhibit mystical powers.
She would dream of the future and her dreams would come true, a prophetess who living up to her nickname, ‘the dreamer.” Through dreams, Hawecha could foresee war, disease, drought and famine.
She would warn her people, saving them from devastation and death. Hawecha is remembered by the Oromo through their oral history which is passed on from generation to generation through inspirational stories about her, told to the young.
The first school in Marsabit, in Northern Kenya, was named after her. Her legacy lives on.
Hawecha's legacy lives on
Hawecha was able to predict a famine. Today, climate scientists warn us that climate change will mean more droughts and more floods. When food crops can’t grow, there might be famine. We need to prepare for climate change by growing a variety of different crops, including traditional food crops. We must allow forests to grow on hills and steep slopes, and we must protect the banks of rivers and lakes.
Research field work was undertaken in Samburu and Marsabit (for Gabbra, Samburu, Rendille, Saakuye, Dasanach, Elmolo, Waayu a.k.a Waata, and Burji superheroes/heroines), Embu and Tharaka (for Aembu, Tharaka, Ameru and Mbeere superheroes/heroines), Mombasa ( for Boni, Swahili, Pokomo, Segeju and Bajuni superheroes/heroines)and Taita-Taveta/Voi (for Taveta superheroes/heroines) capturing all information about the heroes from the 40 selected ethnic groups/communities by Museum’s research team. The illustrations were done using digital media by Shujaa Stories Limited.
National Museums of Kenya - Contributors
Mzalendo Kibunjia (PhD) - Director General
Purity Kiura (PhD) - Director Antiquities, Sites & Monuments
Julias Juma Ogega - Senior Curator/Research Scientist
Njuguna Gichere - Research Scientist
Lydia Gatundu - Art of Curator
Emmanuel Kariuki - Exhibit Designer
Philemon Nyamanga - Curator/Research Scientist
Mercy Gakii - Curator/Research Scientist
Imelda Muoti - Curator/Archivist
Innocent Nyaga - Marketing Officer
Suzanne Wanjaria - Exhibits Designer
Ray Balongo Khaemba - Senior Collection Manager
Raphael Igombo - Education Officer
Eddy Ochieng – Photographer/Videographer
Shujaa Stories Ltd
Tatu Creatives Ltd
Shujaa Stories Ltd
Shujaa Stories Ltd – Contributors
Masidza Sande Galavu - Illustrator
Jeff Muchina- Editing
Martha Shavuya Galavu - Illustrator
Brian Kiraga – Research and Writing
Daisy Okoti - Editing
Shani Mutarura - Editing
Juelz Laval – Photography/Videographer
Linda Tambo - Photography
Nature Kenya- The East Africa Natural History Society (EANHS)