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