Following independence from Ethiopia in
1993 and the imposition of one party rule under the People's Front for Democracy
and Justice (PFDJ), today Eritrea has been described as the North Korea of
Africa, reflecting the paranoia and secrecy of the state.
Men dominate Eritrean culture with a husband or a father (Abo) being seen as the
pillar and the strength of the family.
The male is seen to be the provider and educator of his children and protector
of his home and family.
Whilst this is a tradition in many cultures, as elsewhere, it
relegates the role of women and most families would prefer to
have male children rather than girls (who are often married at
12 years old) who are afforded less opportunities in general,
particularly in education (where learning focuses on the
development of domestic skills) and employment.
All children in
Eritrea are given their father's first name as their surname. There are a number of cultural groups within Eritrea
including the Tigrinya, Saho, Kunama, Tigre and Afar, however
80% of the population is either Tigrinya or Tigre, mainly
Tigrinya. In essence Eritrea is an Afro-Asian nation.