Silt'e in Ethiopia

The Silt'e have only been reported in Ethiopia
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Gurage ethnic group has usually been said to consist of three distinct subgroups, Northern, Eastern and Western. The largest grouping within the Eastern subgroup, known as the Silt'e, did not consider themselves to be Gurage, and in a referendum in 2000 they voted unanimously to form their own administrative unit, the Silte Zone, within the SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region).

The term Silt'e is the modern ethnonym of the speakers of the Silt'e language. Today's Silt'e comprise the following major historical sub-groups: Azernet, Berbere, Alichcho, Wuriro, Melga (or Ulbareg) and Silt'i (or Summusilt'i). The name Silt'i (for the subgroup) is derived from the alleged ancestor Gen Silt'i. The modern ethnonym Silt'e was chosen in memory of this ancestor and as a reminiscence of the old Islamic sultanate of Hadiyya the Silte people claim a historical relation to.

Until the second half of the twentieth century the Silt'e were considered to be part of the Gurage (but called Adiyya or Hadiyya by the Sebat Bet Gurage). Other designations were Islam or East Gurage (after their language which forms part of the East Gurage language area). After the fall of the Derg regime in 1991 a political movement formed to establish an independent ethnic identity for the Silt'e, as they now called themselves. Ten years later, the Silt'e were successful in obtaining an administrative independence from the Gurage Zone in the creation of the Silt'e Zone.

Where Are they Located?

The Silt'e people are an ethnic group in southern Ethiopia. They inhabit today's Silt'e Zone which is part of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region. A considerable number of Silt'e live in Addis Ababa, Adama and other cities and smaller urban centres of southern Ethiopia where they make a living as merchants or keepers of petty shops. In the countryside the Silt'e practice mixed farming and cultivate ensete.

Almost all Silt'e are Muslim. One can expect spiritual opposition when Jesus is presented to a people who regard Christ as foreign and threatening.
What Are Their Beliefs?

The great majority of the Silt'e population is Muslim.

What Are Their Needs?

There is a need for addressing poverty, human development, rural development, food security, capacity building, greater commercialization of agriculture, enhancement of private sector development, and industrial development.

There are wonderful opportunities to show the love of Christ to the people of silti especially in areas of health and education.

There are many local resources that the church can use or give one time support for the indigenous people who can be a insider leader so that he can support him/her self in tent-making ministry. There are many opportunities to work with the youth of Silt'e because they gather together often. The only recreation for them is to gather and play. Ministries such as football friends, water aid and the like can be helpful. There are opportunities to help the local people with sustainability and independence.

Prayer Points

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Romans 10:14

Scripture Prayers for the Silt'e in Ethiopia.


Profile Source:   Tamrat Gezahgen  

People Name General Silt'e
People Name in Country Silt'e
Pronunciation SIL-tuh-ay
Alternate Names East Gurage; Ennequor; Guarage; Gurage, East; Silti
Population this Country 1,732,000
Population all Countries 1,732,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 35
People ID 11677
ROP3 Code 102817
ROP25 Code 302875
ROP25 Name Gurage
Country Ethiopia
Region Africa, East and Southern
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 32  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country South of Addis Ababa 150km, Silte administrative zone, Werabey Town   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Country Ethiopia
Region Africa, East and Southern
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 32  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country South of Addis Ababa 150km, Silte administrative zone, Werabey Town.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Map of Silt'e in Ethiopia
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.09 %)
2.00 %
Ethnic Religions
2.00 %
0.00 %
96.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Silt'e (1,732,000 speakers)
Language Code stv   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Silt'e (1,732,000 speakers)
Language Code stv   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Silt'e

Primary Language:  Silt'e

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1981-2010)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Silt'e Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Tamrat Gezahgen 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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