Sebhat Gebre-Egziabher has been devoting much of his time to reading, writing and the business of seducing women. As a great advocate of “transparency”, he has been telling it all, with beautiful, unpretentious language that he has mastered over the years.
It matters little to Sebhat that he is past his prime now. We are getting a dip of another of his amorous exploits. The type that some of us don’t have enough of.
His new book,”Yefekir Shamawoch” (Love Candles) containing impassioned love letters addressed to a young girl has become the talk of the town.
It takes some luck to be in love in such twilight years and declare it to the public. His critics say this is another pervert money-making exercise from this immoral old man. Whatever the case, the book is sure to raise lots of eyebrows among the reading public.
Just a week after the book saw the light of the day, it drew reactions from various quarters. Ethiopica-Link, a light entertainment program on one of the FMs, was excited about the publication, and had read extracts of the letters on air.
Others in the press felt Sebhat is going too far, like this Amharic article, in Addis Admass (A paper where Sebhat used to be a columnist) that came out this weekend. The tabloid magazines are having field days.
Incidentally, I held an interview with Sebhat last Friday, not to ask him about his new book, but about one of his closet friends, Solomon Deressa, to add up for a lengthy article I am working on.
It was a week ago that I reached Sebhat in his cell-phone asking for an interview, and I was pleasantly surprised when he replied immediately saying with a ‘with a pleasure’. He showed up half-an hour later for the meeting, carrying his festal,that has always been his suitcase and trademark.
He was evidently getting weaker. His slight figure, long white hair and splendid sunken eyes are more noticeable now.Yet he’s got more sides to him than first appears. That clenched quality that you notice when you first meet him is by no means the whole story. He is subtle, acute, elusive, fascinating. He’s got active memory, describes events as he sees or recalls them but he carefully avoids value judgments on any of the topic or issues.
When I explained to him that I am posting the story in my site, he wittingly said I could publish it in the ‘galaxy’ if I wanted to. He has a soft, nasal voice that makes him sound as though he had a perpetual cold. We sat for more than an hour and told me a lot more than I bargained for, which I will bring it to you in week’s time.