The century we are living in has been names like “age of information” and “era of communication”. Of course, the speed of news has never been faster. Technology is minimizing the effect of time and place almost to null. What happens in a certain place is now heard and seen everywhere in no time; hence the improved proverb “what happens in Vegas stays on YouTube”.
However, it has been ages since the Afar people reached the so called era of communication. Of course, they never use devises, gadgets and tools of technology. A more human incident called “Dagu” replaces all the fabricated junk and its tasks. The analogy presented might appear a bit silly; but if you follow me the whole way through, I am sure you will agree with me.
Dagu is simply the way Afar people share information among themselves. Its procedure is as follows: let’s say a thirsty long distance traveler came from Afar; the first thing the people who welcomed him ask is not how his journey went or whether he needs food and water, its news they will ask! The traveler also know that it is his job to provide them with whatever pieces of information he has before any quest for comfort. It seems it is this exchange of information that quenches the traveler’s thirst!
Exchange of information is everything in the life of the Afar people. Dagu warns them off to stay away from contaminated herd if a cattle disease occurred. Dagu informs them about conflicts, deaths, births, weddings, divorces, simply about every little thing.
The flow of information in the act of Daguhas its own rules. When two people meet on a road, for instance, “the senior one has the right to demand the younger one to furnish him with whatever information that he might have”. Another important rule is freedom of disseminating information. Even a person who has been proved and labeled a “liar” has the right to pass information. The astonishing thing is is that people are obliged to listen to such a person and it will be the task of the listener to weigh the information and decide how much it is worth.
“Veracity of information is everything when it comes to Dagu. If one fails to provide accurate information, one will lose credibility. It is for one time, it may be tolerated. But if a person lies for a number of times, he will be labelled a liar and lose face. If a genuine person says he got information from such a person who is already called a liar, the information; he provides will lose weight. So, people tend to be careful when it comes to giving in accurate information”
Source: Afar Tourism Guide Magazine