Archive for the ‘Tribute’ Category

Prof. Amsalu Aklilu passes away

December 26, 2013 1 comment

Professor Amsalu Aklilu, an academic, author, expert on Ethiopian languages, and lexicographer, who co-authored the standard bilingual English-Amharic Dictionary, died on Thursday. He was 83.
The late professor had always been fascinated by word origins, phonetic change, and grammatical development. He took a keen interest in particular aspects of the vocabulary of Amharic, and wrote several articles about the language of early modern Amharic literary documents.”English Amharic Dictionary,” originally published in 1973, was compiled by him, G.P Mosback and other assistants over several years. The volume contains about 10,000 English words, including scientific terminology. The approximate pronunciation is also given in Amharic script. It was published several times and became an indispensable reference for generation of Ethiopian high school and university students.
Amsalu was born in Desse in 1930 and did his primary and secondary education there. His studies covered theology and the full range of Semitic languages – Amharic, Arabic, Hebrew, and Geez (an ancient Semitic language which is no longer spoken but continues in use as a liturgical language). He first studied theology at Theological School in Addis Ababa and he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Coptic Theological College in Cairo in 1957. After earning his PHD in Semitic philology, University of Tubingen, Germany, 1962, he taught Amharic, Geez, Arabic and survey of Ethiopia literature, and lexicography at the Haile Sellassie I University for decades. Read more…

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Mandela & Ethiopia

December 17, 2013 1 comment

General Tadesse Birru and Mandela

Following the news of the death of Nelson Mandela, there has been an outpouring of grief and tributes from around the world. In Ethiopia, a country that shares a historic connection with and support for the former anti-apartheid leader, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn described Mandela as a “mirror in which Africans see the past”.
Ethiopia’s national flag flew at half-mast for three consecutive days, in honor of Mandela. Many people turned out to sign a condolence book at the South African embassy in Addis Ababa. Read more…

Ali Mohammed Birra: The Voice of an Era

July 5, 2013 1 comment

Mohammed Ademo, a New York-based freelance journalist and co-founder of, praises the Oromo music legend on the occasion to celebrate his 50 years in the industry, and the release of his biography that was published in time for the celebration.

Maq livret

He has been described as a national icon, a pioneer, a legend, a hero, a doctor, and even the undisputed king of Oromo music. All of these, however, cannot begin to capture the influence his music has had on Oromo identity, culture, and politics. His work and life reflect his pride in, and devotion to, the empowerment of the Oromo people. His uplifting lyrics and eclectic style will continue to inspire for generations to come. Read more…

Prof. Taddesse Tamrat, historian and educator, dies at 78

May 24, 2013 7 comments

Ethiopian intellectual Taddesse Tamrat, the pre-eminent historian of medieval Ethiopia, died Tuesday in a hospital in Chicago, where he was being treated for acute sickness. He was 78.
A towering figure in Ethiopian medieval history and one of the first full-time members of staff at the Department of History of Addis Ababa University, the late Taddesse was an active and prolific scholar and teacher whose students became well-known academics in the field.

Taddesse was born in Addis Ababa to his father Tamirat Gebreyes and his mother Berhane Muluneh.Taddesse’s grandparents had all been Orthodox clerks; his father was one founders of the Menbere Berhan Saint Mary Church, and worked as the Patriarchal Vicar (Abune Kesis) for the last Egyptian patriarch, Abune Kerselom.
Young Taddesse learned alphabet at Kidsit Mariam church and later
joined elementary school at Holy Trinity School, which he said helped him to retain a deep absorption with his heritage. For his high school studies, he joined Kokebe Tsiba Secondary High school and later Harar Medhani Alem Secondary School. From his first days in grade school, Taddesse was deeply dedicated to scholarship.He entered academic life after obtaining his bachelor’s degree from the Addis Ababa University. Read more…

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Tribute to a Patriarch (Amahric text)

September 28, 2012 3 comments

The head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, has died aged 76, in mid-august. In the following Amharic article sent to Addis Journal, a journalist for the church’s official paper, Dereje Tizazu reflects about the patriarch’s life.

(photo by Aida Muluneh)
Read more…

Yacob Wolde-Mariam on Sebhat

September 8, 2012 3 comments

Veteran journalist Yacob Wolde-Mariam writes of his colleague and friend, Sebhat Gebre-Egziabiher and how his love of journalism and literature sustained him to the end.
I came across Sebhat Gebre-Egziabiher late in the 1960s. A group of five Ethiopian intellectuals under the leadership of the late Baalu Ghirma were then making frantic efforts towards founding and running a newly-established weekly magazine known as Addis Reporter on the basis of a press whose freedom, in their opinion, was unfettered – an attempt that fizzled out less than two years later when the original staff members were dismissed and when I was installed as its new editor. Anyway, the magazine died an unlamented death late in 1969.
I knew Sebhat then as a very talented writer who was very smart in his appearance and had, in fact, married the daughter of Yilma Deressa, one of Haile-Selassie’s outstanding ministers who had graduated from the London School of Economics. He was in complete contrast then to the latter-day Sebhat following the flight abroad of his wife with his child in the early days of the Dergue regime.
From 1974 onwards Sebhat had given one the impression that he was some sort of a Bohemian intellectual who didn’t care a hoot what people had thought how he had dressed and comported himself – or what he had drunk or chewed. I had thought that he was probably influenced by the existentialist philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre during his not more than six-month stay in France and his extensive reading of French poets like Rimbaud, in particular the latter’s Les Fleurs du mal. Read more…

Prof. Mesfin pays tribute to Debebe Eshetu

October 3, 2011 7 comments

Prof. Mesfin Wolde-Mariam pays a personal tribute to Debebe Eshetu, a veteran actor and political activist, who was imprisoned a month ago, on charges of ties to terrorism. His onetime prison inmate, Prof. Mesfin says that Debebe is a wonderful and kind person who hates terrorist act of any kind.Here is the tribute translated from the Amharic weekly Feteh.
Like many Ethiopians, I knew Debebe Eshetu on stage. After all, he is one of this country’s most popular actors. But I came to know him in person right after 2004, when we happened to be political allies. In 2005, we were both sent to kaliti prison, along with other opposition leaders and journalists. It was during our confinement that we came to form close friendship. At Kaliti, we were in the same compound, sharing the meals and drinks that were brought to us. We spent lots of time together, talking and debating issues. Read more…

Categories: Debebe Eshetu, Tribute