Qemant people

The Kemant (or Qimant ) are a small ethnic group in Ethiopia, which are not identical to the Beta Israel in spite of their close historical and ethnic proximity.

According to the census of 1994, the group has about 170,000 members. However, there are only 1,625 people still speak the language Qimant. Since most children today learn Amharic, the original language is in danger of extinction. Also has slowed down considerably by the conversion to Christianity binding to traditional religions. The converts see themselves as new Amhara - and see this as a desirable goal.

The Kemant live along a line of Chilga by Karkar, northwest of Lake Tana. The remaining native speakers of Qimant live near Aykel, about 64 kilometers west of Gonder. They are mainly farmers.


The religion of Kemant considered as a union of elements of Judaism and Animism. However, a 2003 published sociolinguistic study comes to the conclusion that the religion of the Kemant is dying out, as only very few people adhere to it. Only one percent of the Kemant therefore follows the traditional religion. The supreme religious leader among Kemant is the High Priest or Wember, ( Amharic for " chair " or even "Chair "). The Wember is highly respected and is regarded as the head of all Kemant.

For religious observance, the literal observance of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Leviticus counts (see kosher). As in Judaism itself clean animals can only be consumed when they slaughtered regular Compliant ( see shafts). Additional practices include animal sacrifice and the sacred groves care, called degegna.

The worship of the Kemant will take place outdoors, often near a sacred tree ( gole ), with the participants clothed in different colored strips of cloth. This custom apparently is the imitation of a biblical tradition is, see: Gen 21,33 EU and 2 Kgs 23.7 EU. The Kemant celebrate the Sabbath on which it is prohibited, among other things, to start a fire. It is unknown whether and to what extent further Sabbath commandments are followed as in Judaism.

The name of God is Yeadara, which is considered to be omnipresent. The Kemant also worship angels. Is the most respected Jakaranti, followed by Mezgani and Anzatatera. Other angels are Kiberwa, Aderaiki and Shemani.


In the absence of recorded history, the origins of Kemant unknown. According to oral tradition, according to the founder of the Kemant was a man named Anayer. Anayer is considered grandson of Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah. After a seven-year famine in his country he is supposed to have settled in Ethiopia in the vicinity of Lake Tana. On his journey with his wife and children he met the founder of the Beta Israel, which was on the same path. According Wember Muluna Marsha they come from the same country, which they called Canaan. Between the two groups, or their founders a marriage was planned, to which it never came.