Home > Images > Addis ladies of the 60’s

Addis ladies of the 60’s

While looking for some background history on Nazareth school for my previous alumni associations post, there were a couple of pictures and stories that I came across in an old magazine, Ethiopia Mirror. The first one the from 1963 edition of the magazine is about a Nazareth school student who was crowned as Miss Addis Ababa and some other selection of photographs shot in the 1960’s showing Addis ladies of the time, with a strong fusion of the old and the new. It might not do them justice but I’ve photographed some of them to post here.


Here is the story that accompanied the picture. 

Woizerit Meskerem Adefres, an 18-yearl old student of the Nazareth school here in the capital was crowned “Miss Addis Ababa” to the uproarious acclaim of a large audience in a beauty contest held at the Haile Selassie I Theatre on the eve of the Ethiopian New Year Day.

“Miss Addis Ababa” received as prize a small Fiat. She has also been provided with a round-trip air ticket to Asmara along with expenses.

Woizerit Meskerem and the eight final contestants were presented to His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I by Ato kebede Asfaw, Assistant Minster in the Information Ministry. The Emperor gave “Miss Addis Ababa” a golden Omega wrist watch with a golden bracelet as prize.

Runners-up in the beauty contest were Woizerit Konjit Tesfaye, who stood second and Woizerit Amlessa Bisrat, third.


A lady in bikini at Langano, progressive for the time1

Shyly hidden under the branches of a tree   


Hostess of the Ethiopian airlines


Simply captioned as ‘Elegant Lady”  







With caption operators of the international service at the Telecommunications 







Three young women enjoy the show that people make in and around the pool at Sodere.







Employees of the bank at the inauguration of the Commercial bank of Ethiopia in 1965  





 Hostess of the Ethiopian airlines


A lady posing for an advertisement for Silver Star cigarettes taken in 1965  







A very busy telephone operator at Tele 






Woizerit Misrak Alemayehu reigns as Miss Addis Ababa  in 1964, replacing the former, Woizerit Meskerem  







Hostess of the Ethiopian airlines with a tamed lion 





Categories: Images
    March 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm


  2. March 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    wow!! fabulous post thanks arefe!!

  3. Nani
    March 3, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    WOW thank you for all the pictures and newsposts, … i wish i lived in the 60s, where the information minister presents beauty consultants to the Emperor, and the Niguse Negest actually takes the time to select them 🙂

  4. Nani
    March 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    LOL i meant beauty contestants :-[

  5. Sawel
    March 4, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Those pictures were way ahead of the period! especially the lady with swimming suit c’mon were we that modern? I’m really amazed!

  6. March 4, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Nice old stories

  7. March 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Elegant and very.. very uncomfortable-looking 🙂 . Nice job, by the way, arefe. Please keep them coming.

  8. rekik
    March 8, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    wow nice to c my mum’s time on picture..please post more

  9. Gifti
    March 10, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Until I left Addis back in the late 80s, Ms. Meskerem Adefris was still alive and working with one of the Embassies in Old Airport area. Though I do not hear much about them lately, I know her younger sisters (beauties who could won the contest in later years had it not been banned by DERGUE) live in DC area. Those innocent days! What wonderful time to live in Ethiopia then!

  10. Bitew
    November 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for the picture. But, the ladies are not as such sexy.

  11. November 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks for the picture. But, the ladies are not as such sexy

    I agree completely! They aren’t sexy because they are actually fully dressed ;-). There isn’t even a suggestion of sex, except for lady-spouts “Shyly hidden under the branches of a tree” [I don’t think shyness has anything to do with it, by the way. We Ethiopians have been and would always be posers, hell we even “pose” for video cameras. And to pose, you need some kind of a support (so it doesn’t appear as if gravity is pulling down one side of you harder than the other). A tree, a chair or a “sefi deret”, i’ve noticed, are favorable choices]. Now, if anyone of them took a page off Jennifer Lopez’s how-to-dress-for-Grammys, or atleast got hold of a nice versace see-through, it would have been a different story. Right, Bitew?!

    On a less sarcastic note, I love the post you just made about the first work of rejim lib-woled, Arefe. The only genre in amharic literature that I know has controversies in/about was “Achir libweled”. On whether the writer of “YeGulelew Sekaraam” or “Jib nech” can be considered the legitimate Qedami Amharic short story writer. For a person who always viewed Tobia suspiciously, because of it’s uncanny resemblence to one of Shakespear’s plays [“Twelfth Night”], this is a refreshing news.

  12. November 12, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Hi, abesheet,
    It’s nice to have back you reading my blog. I’ve kind of missed reading your insightful comments and your interesting and hilarious blog entries. Can’t you find some time to com up with new posts?
    Hey, I am doing it against all odds.

  13. November 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    But I’ve always read your blog, Arefe. Always! I check it out from my phone, if i am too tired to wait for the computer to start. And when I see an interesting post, or a tickling comment, I say so. Time is also not the problem with my inability to blog anymore. Despite the myth back home of everybody in america working for 24/7, I have evenings and weekends off. [Not sure if it’s the recession or the obscure town in California I’ve unfortunately found myself in]. It’s the “inspiration” I am lacking. The “kurkora”, the “guntela”, the desire not to let sleeping dogs lie. And, despite my respect & reverence to the kind of blogger you are [and the fact that your journal is the only source of information I trust when it comes to ‘news from Addis’], it just won’t do for me.


  14. Aida
    February 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks for posting these beautiful of elegant ladies! One of them is my mom with the caption”Shyly hidden under the branches of a tree”. Where did you get it? Do you have the original?

  15. February 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Oh, your mom is in there!
    The pictures were taken from an old magazine, Ethiopia Mirror. I found at a library and I have photographed the pictures from the magazine.

  16. Aida
    February 26, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Arefe, thanks for your response. Let me know if you have a high-resolution file of the picture and a scan of the article (if any) the picture was associated with. The 60s must have been a golden time for the generation of women you portrayed on your blog. It was the beginning of “Kemajet eske adebabaye” where women invaded the workforce. I wonder about their challenges and triumphs as I look at their pictures.

  17. Gezahegn
    April 10, 2010 at 7:37 am

    It is surprising how life goes on and how coincidence occurs. Here is my story: I read about Miss Addis Ababa of 1965 on today’s issue of AZ (the loyal paper). Although I had no idea whether that beautiful girl whose name was Misrak in our school was this same Misrak I got interested and searched the internet. The only place of a relevant mention is on this blog that I felt like saying something.
    I would love to know more of the then Miss Addis (Wt. Misrak A.) if anybody has any info.

  18. shiferaw
    July 27, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I want to reveal that I imagine the times our mothers and dads as well as close aunts and uncles have passed whenever I see such things.
    you guys who took the initiative to do this on the internet desrve praise and be on your line

  19. Adugna Tamiru
    November 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I am glad to see this old beautiful photos. And was wondering if you have photos of 60’s beauty contest of the begemder konjo who ranked 3rd in the contest her name is Tiruwork Abebe.She is my mother and is alive she will be trilled to see the photo. Keep up your good work. Hoping to here from you soon.

    • Betsey Zenebe
      April 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      wow really…you know you can try posting her pictures up yourslf on the web. Did she still have any of the pictures from the contest.

  20. Ulm Pierre
    November 26, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    J’ai connu en 1973 une Hirut Worku.


  21. alelegn
    April 28, 2011 at 8:52 am

    wow they were nice.

  22. Betsey Zenebe
    April 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I loved the pictures that were up. I have always tried to look for pictures from the old times because i am into finding out what the women were wearing back then and its always been hard to find soo this was great. I would love it if you would have more pictures up or even have a site where everyone could put up differnt pictures from the old times in ethiopia.

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