A new book chronicling the use of photography as communication and propaganda medium in Emperor Menelik II’s palace is set to launch next week here in Addis Ababa. The book entirely written in French and entitled, ‘Le Roi des rois et la photographie. Politique de l’image et pouvoir royal en Ethiopie sous le règne de Ménélik II’ is the offering from the French scholar, Estelle Sohier.The author said her book is about the history of the creation of photographs by the court, their uses, and their political stakes. “These documents bring a new perspective to the history of Ethiopian royalty at the beginning of the 20th century and its relations with the outside world,” she said.
Estelle received her PhD in history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the University of Naples in 2007. She is now a lecturer at the Department of Geography of the University of Geneva. Her current research focuses on the history of photography and its political uses between 1880 and 1930.
The book would be launched on 14 May at two different venues, one at the French Center for Ethiopian Studies (CFEE) at 12.30 pm and at the Alliance Ethio-française at at 6.30 pm.
The Ethiopian poet and playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin’s biography hit bookstores last week, according to Tsehai Publishers.
The new book, called “Soaring on Winged Verse,” was based on interviews that author Fasil Yitbarek has held with Tsegaye, family members, friends, colleagues, the publishing company said in a press statement.
The 244-page book, priced $24.95, chronicles the life of one of Ethiopia’s most remarkable authors, tracing Tsegaye’s days from his Boda village to his rise as luminary figure.
“This book gives readers the most complete look into the life and prolific career of Tsegaye, a playwright and author of influential poetry in both Amharic and English,” the press statement reads.
“Beyond providing a biographical account of the events that shaped the poet’s life, Soaring on Winged Verse serves as an intimate window into the writer’s world and provides readers a glimpse into his creative musings and to his remarkable journey as a writer, traveler, and advocate for his home country.”
The biographer, currently professor of English at Qatar University in Doha, has published an English novel, The Texture of Dreams in 2005. “In Soaring on Winged Verse, readers will encounter a story that goes beyond mere facts to encompass the inspiration of Tsegaye’s remarkable and dynamic life,” the publisher said.
With its stirring plot, profound themes and lushly imagined language, Lib weled Tarik was so much more than Africa’s first novel. Jack Fellman turns the pages of a literary work of art.
The novel as an art form was late in appearing on the African literary scene. The first novel in an African vernacular tongue was the 90-page Amharic work, Lib Weled Tarik (literally, a story produced from the heart or an imaginary tale), written by the Ethiopian, Afewerk Gebre Eyesus, and published in 1908 in Rome.
Afewerk was born on July 10th 1868 on the Zeghe Peninsula of Lake Tana. His family was related to Empress Taytu, wife of the Emperor Menelik, who early on noted the talents of his young relative. In 1887 Menelik sent the 19-year-old Afewerk to study in Italy, where he proved an exceptional student. In 1902 he was appointed Assistant in Amharic to Professor Francesco Gallina at the Oriental Institute of the University of Naples, and it was in this capacity, and with the professor’s active encouragement and support, that Afewerk produced his novel- Africa’s first. Read more…
Historian, author and commentator Professor Richard Pankhurst talks about the renowned intellectual, statesman, diplomat and Ethiopia’s first western trained physician, Hakim Workneh Eshete (also known as Dr. Charles Martin). In an article published in the Capital newspaper, the most prolific writer on Ethiopian historical matters reviews two recent books that saw the light of the day on the historical figure.
Hakim Workneh, aka Dr Charles Martin, was the first Ethiopian I ever met, and the first Ethiopian doctor to give me medical advice – albeit only once or twice during my childhood. Hakim Workneh, who was an important figure in Ethiopian history, is the subject of two recent biographies. He came from a prominent Gondar family that, for one reason or another – we do not know precisely why – was attached to Emperor Tewodros’s court at Maqdala. Read more…
Where do you find the world’s oldest Christian manuscripts? Specialists say that they are in Ethiopia.Two illustrated gospels that date to fifth-century found in the Abba Gerima monastic complex, seven kilometers away from the northern town of Adwa, are possibly the earliest surviving illustrated Christian manuscripts, according to experts.The rare treasures that represent a unique survival of an early Christian text in Ethiopia, predating all others by more than 500 years, are hoped to make the Abba Gerima monastery one of the country’s main touristic attractions. A museum is now under construction on the site to preserve the treasures and scheduled to open June 2012. Read more…
A new book by the renowned Ethiopian professor and author Messay Kebede dissecting the Ethiopian revolution has been met with great acclaim, University of Dayton’s website wrote.
Ideology and Elite Conflicts: Autopsy of the Ethiopian Revolution is the best and most thorough analysis of the causes and implications of the Ethiopian Revolution to date, Theodore M. Vestal, professor emeritus of political science at Oklahoma State University, is quoted as saying on the website.
“Messay Kebede has written an enormously important book. He definitively places the Ethiopian revolution as one of the 20th century’s ‘great revolutions,’ on par with the Russian or Chinese in terms of scope of transformation,” said Terrence Lyons, co-director of the Center for Global Studies at George Mason University. Read more…
What do Haile Selassie and Mandela have in common? Among other things, both are Africa’s most prominent politicians who have come to be considered as inspiring and iconic figures of our age. Though one was a symbol of regal and feudal power and the other a revolutionary with Marxist inclination, both have come to demonstrate great political ability and astuteness during their period in office. Both suffered colonial oppression, and both of them mobilized their respective peoples against oppressors that violated their freedoms. Both are cool, self-contained men, who managed to stay calm and graceful under pressure.
In 1962, the burly, black-haired Mandela came to Ethiopia seeking military and political training to fight apartheid. At a young age and without much experience as a freedom fighter, Mandela was thrilled to see and meet the black independent sovereign who already gained prominence in the international scene. The following excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s new book, Conversations With Myself, renders a portrait of Haile Selassie based on a meeting with the Ethiopian Emperor in military parade in Addis Ababa. Read more…
Dandi, Negasso’s path is the result of collaboration between Dr. Negasso Gidada and journalist Daniel Tefera. Daniel coauthored the memoir based on a series of interviews he had conducted over a period of three months. He wrote down and arranged the material in the first person and Negasso edited and approved every chapter. Thus, though Daniel actually did the writing, it is reasonable to consider the work an autobiography.
The chapter on the relationship between Negasso and Meles makes a good reading, which is the focus of this post. It emerges that Negasso is a proud socialist in his politics, which is one of the reasons he favored TPLF, which grew out of the Marxist-oriented student movement against the Haile Selassie regime. Marist-Leninist explanation for the poverty of the mass of the population had validity for the TPLF at the start, which Negasso found appealing too. But to Negasso’s bewilderment, Meles started quietly dropping references to Marxism and pursued a political philosophy more acceptable to the West. This development left Negasso “deceived” and “angry,” a recurring state of mind in “Dandi.”
How well does Negasso channel his former comrade and current enemy? Read more…
On 22 August 1995, a mild-mannered soft-spoken man, Negasso Gidada- who represented the Oromos- became president of the newly-formed Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. His position was largely ceremonial as real power rested with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Yet the occasion was depicted as a watershed heralding a new chapter in the country’s history in general and the Oromo people in particular.
Before his appointment as president, Negasso, was minister of information, and was closely allied to the EPRDF against the armed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Earlier when he was in Germany, Negasso was president of the Oromo Students’ Association, an organization affiliated with the OLF. Eventually, he administered the OLF’s financial department before he parted his ways. Read more…