Home > City Journal > Dr. Berhanu Abebe passes away

Dr. Berhanu Abebe passes away

I’m saddened to announce that the distinguished Ethiopian historian and linguist Dr. Berhanu Abebe has passed away. He died suddenly today in Harare, Zimbabwe where he went as the secretariat member the African Observer Mission.He was 75.

Born on October 14, 1932 in Addis Ababa from his father Ato Abebe Gedel and his mother, Wzo. Yeshiemebet Wolde-Aregay, Dr. Berhanu attended the Teferi Mekonen and Alliance Francaise schools from 1939 to 1946, completing his elementary education with Great Distinction. Subsequently he joined the the Lycée Franco-Ethiopian Guebre-Mariam school where he developed a lifelong association with the French language and culture.He left for France in the early 1960’s and pursued at the prestigious University of Sorbonne and obtained  his PHD on the evolution of land ownership in Shoa.He has worked there as an assistant professor in the l’école Nationale des Languaes Orientales.

Dr. Berhanu was very close to Emperor Haile Selassie and in 1968 he served as General Manger of the Haile Selassie I Prize Trust for six years.He was also the first member of the Ethiopian languages Academy and has served as professor of history at the Addis Ababa University.Starting in 1981, he served as an External Relations Officer of Addis Ababa University.

Dr. Berhanu is the author of a number of highly valued books, including his last one¨ Ethiopian History from Axum to the Revolution¨, which was written in French.He has been a cultural ambassador between Ethiopia and France and the French-Amharic dictionary that he has prepared with Ethiopian and French lexicographers is one of the most comprehensive and trusted works.

Elegant and a brilliant orator, Dr. Berhanu will be remembered for his outstanding contributions to Ethiopian history, for his lively and impassioned teaching and bringing the French and Ethiopian cultures together.He was a polyglot who had a mastery of Amharic, Geez, Tigrigna, Oromifa, French, English, Italian, Latin, classic Greek, and Arabic.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

His body is expected to arrive in Addis tomorrow with his funeral to follow the next day.

Related –Zimbabwe’s Herald

Categories: City Journal
  1. Desalegn
    July 2, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I’m saddened by hid death. He taught me history in AAU. He was a passionate teacher indeed. May his soul rest in peace.


  2. Elfy
    July 3, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Je suis trés trés émue par sa disparition. Mes condoléances à toute sa famille .

  3. makeda
    July 3, 2008 at 2:18 am

    I am sorry about Dr Brehanu’s death.

  4. Araya-Y. B.
    July 3, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Nouvelle vraiment triste. Le communauté francophone éthiopienne a perdu un grand homme exemplaire. Mes condoléances pour sa famille.

  5. annibal teclou
    July 3, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Je suis trés touché par le decés de ce brillant HOMME qui a largement contribuer dans le milieu intelectuel en ETHIOPIE.Surtout c est une grosse
    perte pour les enciens lyceens.
    Je presente mes sympathie les plus sincére a sa famille et a ces proches.

  6. William Domingo
    July 3, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Je suis effondré par le décès de mon ami Berhanou Abebe avec lequel j’aimais me promener à Addis Abeba pour l’entendre me conter des histoires merveilleuses.
    Mes sincères condoléances à sa femme et à ses enfants.

  7. Senait and her family
    July 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    We are deeply saddened by his death. It was shocking for us to hear his death away from home. The way he did makes us more saddened and was painful to us. He was hero to fellow Ethiopians and always remembered as distighushed historian, liguist, to name few through his fruits. Dr. Berhanu, as we call him ‘Agote=uncle’, was very generous, thoughtful, intelligent person.

    We love you “Agote!”
    May God keep your soul in peace.

  8. Juzer
    July 3, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Ethiopia has lost a Great Scholar.

    My condolescenes to his loved ones.
    May his Soul rests in peace.

  9. Rahel Mekuria
    July 4, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I am really shocked by the news of my beloved uncle death. He was not just an uncle for me; he was also a very caring father. May my dear GOD rest his sole in peace?

  10. miss.
    July 4, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I was shocked to hear of his demise. He was in deed a great human being.
    C’est une grosse perte pour la communauté francophone.

    Mes condoléances à sa famille.

  11. Birtukan Salih
    July 5, 2008 at 3:20 am

    It is always sad to hear someone that is doing a lot for his country has passed away a sad loss for his family which are also close to me and a sad loss to the country we all call home where ever we are.

    May God bless his soul

  12. Bereket Sitotaw
    July 5, 2008 at 7:29 am

    I am realy sorry about Dr brehanu’s Abebe , It saddened me to hear of his death
    may God bless his family and his loved ones

  13. B.Haile Maraim
    July 5, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Berhanu was a personal freind and someone I admired greatly for his tireless and enthusiastic work in his field.He was genial, warm and welcoming to visitors.Yet he was also a fiercely private man, working quietly in isolation, writing that is hand-copied with exquiste caligraphic skills. For any historical information, I turned up to him for.He never let me down.Thank you, Berhanu.R.I.P.

  14. Zabel and Aklil Shiferaw Mekuria
    July 5, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    We were shocked and saddened at hearing the unexpected death of Dr Berhanu, our uncle. He is irreplaceable for us as he was not only un uncle, but also a generous and caring father, specially after the death of our father. His death is undoubtedly a great loss not only to his family but also to all those who have come to know him. We dearly miss him. We will always cherish the memories of his excellent qualities including his unreserved love for fellow mankind. May his soul rest in peace and may God also give the rest of the grieving family the strength during this difficult time and always. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  15. Salih Suleiman
    July 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Dr Berhanu’s untimely and sudden death has come as a shock to me, as I was planning to meet him in a few months time in a family reunion. No doubt Ethiopia has lost one of her best and brightest sons. May his soul rest in peace. My thoughts are with the rest of the grieving family.

  16. Ayda(ninika) Fasil
    July 5, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I still can’t believe my uncle Dr. Berhanu is dead until I personally go to Ethiopia and see his grave yard. I remember whenever he came home to see us specially my grandmother Maria; I remember his beautiful smile and his best advices and that remain the rest of my life.

    May God rest his soul in peace?

  17. Solomon Shifferaw
    July 6, 2008 at 2:29 am

    It was a great shock to hear of our beloved uncle death.
    There are no words to express our grief at the sad news.
    Our hearts are filled with sorrow for him.
    He was well-Loved, admired and respected by all who know him.
    I realize his death is a great loss for our family.
    His marvelous books and his wonderful work achievement are alive and appreciate by young Ethiopian for ever.

    Dear uncle,

    I love you forever from my heart.

    May God bless his soul.

  18. Hiwot Shifeeraw
    July 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Trying to find something to say, with a shock , is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. Not because I don’t know what to say, just because there’s so much to say about my beloved uncle, (Dr. Berhanu Abebe), mentor and a father figure. .
    Yes, He was an able scholar, an outstanding professor, distinguished administrator, and prodigious worker and and a good human beoing.
    Those of us who know him, respect him, loved him, We admired his energy, his dedication and appreciation for the role he played in our country.

    He was our hero. He empowers us with his positive thinking, which makes us think more clearly, he encouraged us to read more widely and weigh the facts more carefully.

    As a teacher, he touched and guided us through facts and logic. He cared about every young people and always emphasized the important of education and commitment to our country. He had inspired the vision of worth and beauty in each and every one of us , so that each can achieve our goals in life.
    I truyly and honestly believe my uncle was a happy person who loved and enjoyed many things with passion. He loved his family, loved children, loved to read, loved fishing, art, intellectual discourse, loved history and also fascinating with technology.

    My uncle, Dr. Berhanu Abebe, with a sense of profound respect and admiration, , I love you, I thank you and miss you very much .
    So long! Your niece
    Hiwot Shifeeraw

  19. Bezashe Sime gerbie
    July 7, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    i was really in shock when i heard about the death of Dr.Berhanu Abebe. He was like my big brother. I met him six months ago when my mother(abynesh) was in hospital. He was so kind with and generous with me. It is a big lose for the family. I wish to express to you my sincere condolences. It is a big lose for the family. may God give you courage to help you cope with this terrible death.

  20. Dr Ephrem Daniel,Dr Saifu Daniel,Fassil Daniel,Roman daniel and Meaza Daniel
    July 8, 2008 at 1:33 am

    The Children of Ato Daniel Yoseph and Wro Mamite Desta extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife and children .He was an unforgetful person and has contributed a lot to his country.May he rest in peace.

  21. John (Aman) and Zanthia Ibrahim
    July 8, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of our legendary uncle Dr. Berhanu Abebe. There is no doubt that he was one of Ethiopia’s greatest assets and he will always be remembered and admired for his great achievements. Our deepest condolences go out to the rest of the family and all of his fans around the world. May God bless his soul.

  22. Lisa Eskindre
    July 15, 2008 at 10:09 am

    my hero uncle

    I’m proud to be your. All my life you’ve treated me as your own daughtr
    And I love you for that. Even when you lost your first child Marta,you said that you have as much of a daughter in me,and I adore you for that.
    As far away as you’ve constrvcted so much love in our lives,and I admire you for that .
    Uncle, you’re truly one of a kind your departure is a great loss. I’ve a lot that I wanted to talk to you about just like the good old times,And I’ll miss you for that I guess I’ll never be able to share my secrets the way I shared with you any more and I’ll crave you for that, nobody will be able to direct me and influence me in the ways you have and I’ll wallow in the wilderness for that.
    As real as it is that I’ll never be able to physically seeyou again, I continually feel that you’ll come back soon. I simply can’t accept the fact that you’re on the other side of life.
    I Promise to lead my life the way you’ve thought me. Ipromise to implement the wisdom you’ve shared with me.I promise to highlight the princples you’ve installed in my life
    Till the day that I join you in the next life,may our good lord Jesus chrit rest your soul in Peace & harmony.

    I’ve always loved you!

    I love you;

    I’ll always love you!

  23. Rahel mekryia
    January 7, 2012 at 2:23 am

    He is my uncle

  24. Maheder G Borga
    May 25, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Maheder G Borga :
    Hello . My name is maheder I am an architect in Ethiopia . i am doing a research on The HIM Prize (YEKEDAMAWI HAILESELLASIE YESHILIMAT DEREJET . Can you please send me the contact of Dr. Berhanu Abeba’s children ? Apart from my Architectural practices i run a radio show on Sheger fm 102.1 in Addis Abeba (facebook/kebet eske ketema on sheger fm 102.1 ) My research is on the urban and city life and history of the late 60′s and early 70′s . Dr Berhanu’s contribution on the HIM Prize is very influencial and i am trying to get as many information as possible.
    My email is lemaheder@gmail.com

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