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About Karo

The population of Karo is only about 3,000 people. They live in southern part of Ethiopia on the practice of flood retreat cultivation on the banks of the Omo River. Their people speak omotic language and they are very close to Hamer and benna. They are considered to be a dialect of Hamer.

Culture of the tribe

The Karo excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dances and ceremonies. They decorate their bodies, often imitating the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. Feather plumes are inserted in their clay hair buns to complete the look.The clay hair bun can take up to three days to construct and is usually re-made every three to six months. Their painted face masks are spectacular. Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed to produce a raised welt. This group is the smallest tribe in the area. It obviously struggles with direct threats from nearby tribes that have more gun power, greater numbers, and likely coalitions with one another.

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