Dafaa Jammoo (Rev)

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Life and ministry

Dafaa Jammoo was born in Kannawo, Wollega, in 1910.

As a teenager, he was employed by German Hermannsburg missionaries in Aira. In addition, he received pedagogical and ministerial training.

After the beginning of school and confirmation classes as well as church services in 1932, Dafaa became the key assistant to the Revs Dietrich Wassmann and Friedrich Bock.

Dafaa Jammoo was confirmed in Aira in 1935 and got married in 1936. In 1941, he was ordained (as the first Lutheran pastor born in Ethiopia).

In the 1940s, Protestant congregations in Wellega began to organize themselves as a national church unit (Gimbii Board).

Rev. Dafaa Jammoo served as

  • President of the “Gimbii Board” (later: Western [Wellega] Synod) from 1949 to 1971.
    He visited Europe for several weeks in 1952 (LWF Commission on World Mission, etc.).
    The Western Wellega Synod was the unit with the largest membership in the newly founded Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus in 1959.
  • Superintendent of the Aira District from 1971 to 1978 (retirement)

In 2002, he passed away.

Rev. Dafaa Jammoo wrote numerous Oromo manuscripts on linguistic, cultural and religious issues, of which only 6 were published during his life-time.

Quote from Arén (1999), Envoys of the Gospel, p. 452:

“[p. 452] Daffa objected strongly against the word farsa, which Onesimos used for hymn [See hymnal]. Daffa maintained that the real meaning of farsa was dirge, a song of wailing over someone who recently had died. After two years at the mission he was so far advanced in the German language that he could assist his tutor in revising Onesimos’ hymnbook.*


Rev Dafaa Jammoo wrote two hymns in Oromo that were translated into German:

(1) Gott gebühren alle Ehren [All honours are due to God] and
(2) Der wahre Weg [The true way].

» Read lyrics

Rev Dafaa’s hymn Der wahre Weg was sung at the Hermannsburg Mission Festival in 1952.

Songs in hymn book

Sagallee Lubbuu Galata Waaqayyof (ed. Lamessa Bato 1970)

No. 1 (Waaqayyo Uumaa keenya)

Galata Waaqayyoo (1998)

No. 153 (Waaqayyo nuuf humna keenya) ???


Interview with Mrs. Qanatu Karorsa (wife of Rev. Dafaa Jammoo) in 2015:


Dafaa Jammoo and his family in 1939
(courtesy ELM Hermannsburg Archives)
After returning from Germany in 1952
(courtesy ELM Hermannsburg Archives)
Together with his friend, Rev. Mammo [Chorqa]
(adapted from Bauerochse, Zum Hirten berufen, opp. p. 30)

Further reading

1. Sources
1.1 Books

Dafaa Jammoo. Huursaa [ሁርሳ, The Hursa River (at Aira)]. Addis Ababa 1977 [1969 A.M.; book includes traditional songs] [View online]

—. Aada Oromoo Wallagga [_ _ _, The culture of the Wallaga-Oromo]. Addis Ababa 1982 [1974 A.M.]

—. Gumbii oduu [_ _ _, Reservoir of Stories], vol. 1. Addis Ababa 1975 A.M.

—. Kuusaa sagalee Oromoo [_ _ _, Dictionary of the Oromo language]. Addis Ababa 1980 A.M.

—. Saffuu biya keesaa [_ _ _, Cultural values of the country]. Addis Ababa 1991 [1983 A.M.]

—. Amala waaqeeffannaa saba Oromoo [_ _ _, Worship customs of the Oromo people]. Addis Ababa 1994 A.M.

1.2 Manuscripts

Dafaa Jammoo. “Gott gebühren alle Ehren” [All honours are due to God] and “Der wahre Weg” [The true way]. Hymns translated by Dietrich Wassmann and put into rhymed song form by Theodor Werner. [Read online]

—. Gumbii oduu [_ _ _, Reservoir of stories], vol. 2. Manuscript, 1982 A.M.

—. Me Wallaggaan hubanna! [_ _ _, Let us understand Wallagga]. Manuscript, n.d.

—. Yo yaadatani nama dinzeeqa! [_ _ _, Think of it and marvel!]. Manuscript, n.d.

—. Seenaa German Hermannsburg missiyoon [_ _ _, History of the German Hermannsburg Mission]. Manuscript, n.d. [ELM Hermannsburg Archive]

  • Cf. Reports of the Annual Missionary Conference in 1968/69 [ELM Hermannsburg Archive, AE 2 – 2.103]

—. Seenaa Qes Dafaa Jammoo [_ _ _, History of Qes Dafaa Ǧammoo]. Manuscript, n.d. [ELM Hermannsburg Archive]

—. Letters and Speeches. [ELM Hermannsburg Archive, AE 1 – 1.24, 1.314; AE 2 – 2.3000; AE 4 – 4.33-I]

Grabe, Hermann. “Meine erste Begegnung mit Dafa und seinem Bruder Fajisa. Erzählt nach Aufzeichnungen von Hermann Grabe”. 6 pages. [ELM Hermannsburg Archive, AEA 1 – 1.24]

Kumera Gemtesa. Qes Daffa Djammo: The Man and His Ministry. B.Th. paper submitted to Mekane Yesus Seminary. Addis Ababa, 1990. [ELM Hermannsburg Archive, AE 4 – 4.33-II]

2. Literature
2.1 Encyclopedic articles

Bauerochse, Ernst. “Dafaa Ǧammoo”, in Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 2, ed. S. Uhlig, p. 56. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005.

Dirshaye Menberu. “Jammo, Daffa”, [Online] Dictionary of African Christian Biography, 2004. [Read online]

2.2 Other secondary literature

Arén, Gustav. Envoys of the Gospel in Ethiopia: In the Steps of the Evangelical Pioneers 1898-1936. Stockholm: EFS förlaget; Addis Ababa: The [Ethiopian] Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, 1999. [See chapter 8: “A Dream Came True – The Legacy of Louis Harms 1928-1936”]

Bauerochse, Ernst. Zum Hirten berufen. Hermannsburg: Missionshandlung, 1959. [42 pages]

—. Ihr Ziel war das Oromoland: Die Anfänge der Hermannsburger Mission in Äthiopien. Münster: Lit, 2006. [See index, p. 396]

Schendel, Gunther. ” ‘Our Pastor Daffa Djammo’: The European Visit of an Ethiopian Church Leader (1952) – A Case Study on Networks and Religous Transfer During the Time of the ‘Missiological Aggiornamento’ after World War II”, in Investigations on the “Entangled History” of Colonialism and Mission in a New Perspective (20th Ludwig Harms Symposium), ed. by M. Fischer and M. Thiel, p. 77-94. Berlin and Münster: Lit Verlang, 2022. [Google Books (introduction only)]

Wassmann, Dietrich. Der Durchbruch des Evangeliums im Gallaland. Hermannburg: Missionshandlung, 1948 [See p. 42-60]

—. Der Ziegenjunge von Aira [The Goat Herder of Aira]. Hermannsburg: Missionshandlung Hermannsburg, 1947. [6th ed. 1965]