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AMRAN ETHIOPIA TOUR AND TRAVEL

NOTABLE PEOPLE IN THE HISTORY OF ETHIOPIA: PART TWO

Afawarq, Gabra Iyasus :( 1868–1947) as an Ethiopian writer and possibly Ethiopia’s first novelist to gain repute. He was one of the first Ethiopians to receive an art education abroad. Early in the nineteenth century, he worked On the church of Maryam at Entoto and was later sent to Italy by Emperor Menelik to study with the Italian envoy Count Antonelli. Afawarq studied art At the Academia Albertino in Turin, Italy, but soon abandoned art for literature and politics. He is controversial due to statements he made during the second Italo-Abyssinian War suggesting he was not opposed to some aspects of the Modernist mission of the fascist regime.

Afewerk, Tekle: (1932–) is one of Ethiopia’s most celebrated artists, particularly known for his paintings on African and Christian themes as well as his stained glass. Born in Ankober, he grew up in a war-torn country largely Occupied by Italian fascists during World War II. Following the war, in 1947, he decided that he wanted to help rebuild Ethiopia and elected to travel to England to study mining engineering. Before departing, he and other students leaving to study overseas were addressed by Emperor Haile Selassie. Afewerk recalls being told “you must work hard, and when you come back do not tell us what tall buildings you saw in Europe, or what wide streets they have, but make sure you return equipped with the skills and the mindset to rebuild Ethiopia.”

Ahmed, Mahmoud: for over 30 years has deftly combined the traditional Amharic music of Ethiopia (essentially a five-note scale that features jazz style singing offset by complex circular rhythm patters which gives the music a distinct feel with pop and jazz influences. Ahmed


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has been a star in Ethiopia almost since the day he began recording. He has been credited with a style that fuses the past and present.

Ali, Yeshimebet: daughter of Woizero (later Ima-hoi) Wolete Giorgis and Ali Abba Jifar of Wollo was the wife of Ras Makonnen and mother of Emperor Haile Selassie. She died during the emperor’s infancy. Her mother and her sister, Woizero Mammit, helped care for her young son as he grew to adulthood.

Ashenafi, Senait :( 1966–) is an Ethiopian-born actress in the United States Who played Keesha Ward on General Hospital from 1994 to 1998. She has also Worked as a dancer, singer, and model. Born in Addis Ababa, she moved to the United States with her family, where she studied at Florida State University. She has since been involved with activism and Ethiopian Diaspora issues

Astatke, Mulatu: (1943–) is an Ethiopian musician and arranger. He is Known as the “Father of Ethio-Jazz” and was born in 1943 in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma. Astatke was musically trained in London, New York City, and Boston, where he was the first African student at Berklee College of Music. He would later combine his jazz and Latin music influences with traditional Ethiopian music. In 2005, his music appeared on the soundtrack to The Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers.

Aweke, Aster: (1961–) A native of Gandor, a small town near Lake Tara, Aweke is one of Ethiopia’s best loved performers. Raised in the capital city of Addis Ababa, this daughter of senior civil servant in the imperial government, Began singing professionally in her late teens in Addis Ababa clubs and hotels With such bands as the Continental Band, Hotel D’Afrique Band, Shebele Band, and the Ibex Band. She later launched a solo career but felt stifled by the lack of


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political and artistic freedom in her homeland. By 1981, Aweke relocated to the United States, and settled in Washington, D.C. She restarted her career by performing in local Ethiopian restaurants, in the process building up a following. She later toured Europe and the United States in 1985. Aweke is now successful throughout the world. She has been described as a voice for her people and perhaps the most famous female singer in Ethiopia.

Bayyana, Alamawarq: was a veterinary doctor, educated in Britain, and president of the Black Lions, a resistance political movement to the fascist invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Alamawarq Bayyana was a conservative intellectual, albeit one who was interested in the political evolution of Ethiopia. He died shortly after Ethiopia’s liberation.

Bedaso, Aragaw: (1934–) is a longtime Ethiopian traditional singer who has won praise for his Gurage songs. His most popular song is “Alem Bire.” He has been performing since 1957 and still performs and is active in the Ethiopian music scene.

Bikila, Abebe: (1932–October 1973) was born in the town of Jato about 130 Kilometers away from Addis Ababa. Oral traditions held that he spent most of his childhood as a shepherd and student. At the age of twelve, he completed the traditional, “qes” schooling. By that time, Abebe had already distinguished himself as an exceptional “gena” player. In 1952, he was hired by the Imperial Bodyguard, with whom he participated in both athletics and “Gena” games. Abebe spent several years with the Imperial Guard before he distinguished Himself as a fine athlete. Inspired by the athletes who represented Ethiopia in the Olympics, he was determined to be one of them. In 1956, at age 24, Abebe participated in the national armed forces championships, where he easily won His first major race. He went on to break the 5K and 10K records held by another Ethiopian. Abebe’s race in the Rome Olympics established him as a legend as he set a new world record, becoming the first African to win an Olympic medal. Four years later, during the Tokyo Olympics, Abebe’s overcame appendicitis and won the race barely six weeks after his surgery. Although Abebe trained for the Mexico City Olympics of 1968, he had to


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withdraw from the race due to poor health after running 15 kilometers. His compatriot, Mamo Wolde, later finished the race victoriously. Abebe competed in more than 26 major marathon races in his illustrious athletic career. The world championships he won in 1960 and 1962 deserve special recognition. In 1968, Abebe Bikila was involved in a car accident in the city of Sheno about 70 kilometers from Addis Ababa that left him paralyzed below the Waist. Over the next nine months, he was treated both in Ethiopia and abroad. Even while in a wheelchair, his competitive spirit and desire to see his countries Flag hoisted high and proud helped him compete and win several races. In 1970, he participated in a 25-kilometer cross-country sled competition in Norway where he won the gold medal. In the same tournament, he won a 10kilometer race where he was awarded a special plaque. When he died, he was buried in the grounds of St. Joseph Church in the presence of Emperor Haile Selassie and a huge crowd.

Boghossian, Alexander Skunder: (1937–2003), a native of Ethiopia, made his first sojourn to the West in 1955 when he immigrated to England to study on a government scholarship. He later moved to Paris, where he remained for nine years. While in Paris he interacted with African artists and intellectuals who were part of the Negritude movement, and he encountered the work of the French surrealists. Some of the artists who influenced Boghossian include Paul Klee, Roberto Matta, and the Afro-Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam. In 1972, Boghossian was appointed as a faculty member at Howard University In Washington, D.C. His work, described as “a perpetual celebration of the diversity of blackness,” has been on display throughout the world including The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. Upon Boghossian’s death, Sharon F. Patton, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, released a statement that captures his contribution: “Only days ago, Skunder was with us—surrounded by fellow artists, colleagues from Howard University, members of the Ethiopian community and friends from the National Museum of African Art—to celebrate the opening of‘Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora.’ We were fortunate to have Skunder participate in this exhibition. As a major figure in modern African art history, he opened the way for others to follow and left an important body of work behind. ‘Ethiopian Passages’ celebrates his legacy. His spirit will endure at the Museum.”

Desta, Gebre Kristos :( 1932–1981) created paintings that have been described as remarkable not only for their technical and formal achievements, But also for their symbolic power and psychological insight. He observed and


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Commented upon the political strife of Ethiopians in a symbolically expressionistic way. He is generally acknowledged as one of those responsible for introducing nonfigurative and abstract art into Ethiopia. His works such as Mother and Child, Not far from Ambassador Theater, Golgotha, Shoe Shine Boys, and Black Music capture Ethiopian national history, religious myths, legends, cultural issues, and social problems while also reflecting the political climate of the country. He fled from Ethiopia in 1979 during the era of the Derg. He died in the United States less than two years after settling as a political refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Dinsamo, Belayneh :( 1965–) rose to international fame when he set a new World record in the marathon in Rotterdam, Holland, on April 17, 1988. His Record of 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 50 seconds stood until 1998.

Ejigayehu Shibabaw: or Gigi as she is popularly known, is one of the most Successful contemporary Ethiopian singers worldwide. Coming from an ancient Tradition of song originating in the Ethiopian Church, she has brought the music of Ethiopia to wider appreciation and developed it in combination with a wide variety of styles. Gigi and her husband, producer Bill Laswell, have recently worked with American jazz legends including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Pharoah Sanders in recent musical collaborations.


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Eshate, Hakim Warqenah: (also known as Dr. Charles Martin) was a surgeon, educator, provincial governor, and Ethiopian Minister to London at the Outbreak of the Italo-Ethiopian War in 1935. Hakim Warqenah Eshate was a Social and political progressive; in 1924 he was placed in charge of reforming Feudal slavery.

Eshete, Alemayehu: a native of Addis Ababa, Alemayehu was one of the first to record music to vinyl in Ethiopia. As a young man, his talent for imitating popular singers had earned him the nickname “Alemayehu Elvis.” Since 1961, Alemayehu has formed numerous modern bands, performing in Ethiopia’s premier clubs and hotels. He has recorded both romantic and political songs that campaign against local and global injustices. His music remains very powerful and popular in modern Ethiopia. In 1984, he won a Tchaikovsky composition award at the International Music Festival in Dresden, Germany.

Gabre-Medhin, Tsegaye: (1936–2005) was poet laureate of Ethiopia as well As a poet, playwright, essayist, and art director. Born in Boda, near Ambo, Ethiopia, Tsegaye graduated from the Blackstone School of Law in Chicago In 1959, but by 1960 he had studied experimental theatre at the Royal Court Theatre in London and the ComedieFrancaise in Paris. Between 1961 and 1971, Tsegaye was artistic director for the Ethiopian National Theatre and in The late 1970s he founded the department of theatre at Addis Ababa University. However, in the 1970s he was imprisoned by the Derg regime, who also Banned his writings. Tsegaye wrote numerous poems, plays, essays, and song Lyrics, primarily in Amharic. Many Ethiopians regard him as their Shakespeare. Tsegaye translated Shakespeare (Hamlet and Othello being the most Popular of these works) as well as Moliere’s Tartouffe and Doctor despite Himself and Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage. Tsegaye died in Manhattan, where he had


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moved in 1998 to receive treatment for kidney disease. He was buried in Addis Ababa in the national cathedral where the body of Emperor Haile Selassie lies.

Gebru, Senedu: was an Ethiopian intellectual who studied in Switzerland And, during the fascist occupation, was kept for a time in detention in Italy. She was a member of the women’s antifascist resistance movement in western Ethiopia. Senedu and other women wore uniforms and hats with Red Cross Marks and served the cadets as “impromptu Red Cross Units,” tending not Only the fighting men but also the civilians suffering from bullets, burns, and Poisonous gas. Her work (published in 1949–1950) was described as the first Important piece of creative writing about the experience to be printed in Addis Ababa.

Gerima, Haile: (born March 4, 1946) is an Ethiopian filmmaker who came To the United States in 1968. At the University of California in Los Angeles he Was an important member of the Los Angeles School of black film makers. He Has been a professor of film at Howard University in Washington, D.C., since 1975. His best-known film, Sankofa (1993), is about slavery.

Habte-Wold, Aklilu: (1912–1974) was an Ethiopian politician under Emperor Haile Selassie. He was foreign minister of Ethiopia from 1947 to 1958 and prime minister from 1961 until shortly before his death. He and his brothers, Makonnen Hapte-Wold and Akalework Hapte-Wold, were the beneficiaries Of imperial patronage from Emperor Haile Selassie, who had them educated In the country and abroad in his efforts to create a new Western-educated Intelligentsia and professional class in his country. Aklilu Hapte-Wold was French educated. Aklilu Hapte-Wold was among those who joined Emperor Haile Selassie during his exile following the second Italo-AbyssinianWar. He acted as a fundraiser for the beleaguered exile community and for the resistance inside Ethiopia. In 1958 the Emperor appointed Aklilu to replace him as Minister of the Pen, giving him the title of “Tsehafi Taezaz.” When student protests, military mutinies, and an economic downturn caused by the oil embargoerupted in 1973 into a popular uprising against the government, calls went out for Tsehafi Taezaz


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Aklilu to be dismissed. When Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974 by the Marxist military junta that would rule the country for almost two decades, Tsehafi Taezaz Aklilu Hapte-Wold and his brother Akale Work Hapte-Wold were both executed with 60 other exofficials of the emperor’s government without trial, in November 1974.

Haymanot, Abune Takla: was the Third Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. He was enthroned following the forcible removal from the patriarchal throne of the previous patrarch, Abune Tewophilous, by the Marxist Derg regime in 1977. Following the patriarch’s arrest, the Derg ordered that An assembly of clergy and laity of the church along with the Holy Synod elect a new patriarch to replace the arrested Abune Tewophilos. All archbishops Were disqualified from being elected for having been too close to the recently Deposed Ethiopian monarchy. The church assembly was made to elect a hermit bahitawi monk by the name of Abba Melaku as the new patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. With little formal education and little exposure to temporal affairs, Abba Melaku had spent the bulk of his life as a hermit praying in a cave and preaching to the people of the Wollaita district. It is believed that the Derg hoped that such a man would be easy to control. He was enthroned, and, within a year, he was made to appoint 14 new bishops to replace the old ones who were deemed to have been close to the government of Emperor Haile Selassie. A government-appointed administrator was put in place to place the church Under the tutelage of the Derg. The Derg eventually executed Abune Tewophilos But the Coptic Church refused to recognize the removal of patriarch and declared that as far as the church of Egypt was concerned, he remained the canonical patriarch of Ethiopia. Abune Takla Haymanot presided over the church during a tumultuous period of Ethiopian history. As Ethiopia weathered the Derg’s misrule and a series of natural disasters, Abune Takla Haymanot embodied the Church’s devoutness and dignity, and he became the most popular of all the men to have sat on the patriarchal throne in Ethiopia. Upon his enthronement, he had Refused to don the black robes traditional to high-ranking hierarchs of the Orthodox churches. Instead he adopted robes that were bright yellow, the Color of the bahitawi hermits and a color that in Ethiopian tradition symbolized Penance and suffering. Indeed the Patriarch spent the entire 11 years of his reign in almost constant penance. He prayed constantly, refused to eat anything but the


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simplest boiled and roasted grains and beans, slept on the bare floor, and wore the thinnest of sandals, in an act of constant self mortification. His personal allowance was spent on educating a group of famine orphans that he was personally raising in the patriarchate itself. Although never directly confronting the communist government for fear of increasing the persecution of his flock, Patriarch Abune Takla Haymanot preached to his people to be strong and to pray, joining them in this endeavor with all his heart. Sources indicated that he later voiced opposition to the violent actions of the Derg. The patriarch suffered from poor health due to his constant fasting and Penance. He ceased making public appearances other than to attend Mass at The church within the patriarchate. He made one final public appearance at The inauguration of a new church in Wollaita and visited the cave where he had once lived. He returned to Addis Ababa and was almost immediately admitted to the hospital, where he died in late May 1988. The government ordered a full state funeral for Patriarch Abune Takla Haymanot, complete with military escort, gun salutes, and flags at half staff throughout Ethiopia. The open casket was carried from St. Mary’s church in the Patriarchate to Holy Trinity Cathedral on the same carriage that was once used by the fallen imperial regime for royal funerals. The patriarch lay in his coffin wearing a patriarchal crown and in his robes of office, draped with the Ethiopian flag.

Lamma, Mangistu: is an Ethiopian playwright best known for writing Yalaccha Gabbiccha (Marriage of Unequa)

Selassie, Haile Gebre :( 1973–) is regarded universally as the greatest long distance runner of all time. He was born in the province of Arsi in central Ethiopia and was inspired by runners Abebe Bikila and Miruts Yifter. As a Child he was said to have run 20 kilometers every day going to and from School. At age 16, without any formal training, he entered the Addis Ababa Marathon and finished in 2:42. Haile rose to international prominence in 1992 When he won the 5K and 10K world junior championships. In 1993 at the Stuttgart world championships, he won gold in the 10K and silver in the 5K Competition. Haile set his first world record in 1994 by breaking the six-year old World record of Said Aouita. The year 1995 established Haile as an unparalleled


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Long-distance runner. He broke Moses Kiptanui’s world record in a two-mile race. Only a week later, he broke another world record. He won another victory in the world championship 10K by earning a gold medal. His fourth world record occurred in Zurich, Switzerland. At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, he won a gold medal in the 10K race in an Olympic record time. In February 1997 in Stuttgart, Germany, he set a new world record in the 1,500-meter race. Gebre Selassie’s seventh world record occurred in Stockholm, Sweden. In a 1997 competition, he won a prize of $1 million. On July 4, 1997,in Oslo, Norway, he had an outstanding 10K race in which he had a huge lead against his opponents and again set a new world record. In the following month, he earned another 10K world championship to be followed by another on August 13, 1997, where he once again won a 5K race by setting a new world record that was three seconds better than his previous time. In 2000, he won his second gold medal at the 10K in the Sydney Olympics. In 2004, Gebre Selassie came to the Olympic Games seeking to become the first man in history to win three straight Olympic gold medals in the 10K run. He was unable to do so, however, he finished fifth in a race won by his fellow countrymanand proteดgeด, Kenenisa Bekele.

Selassie, Sahle: (ca. 1795–October 22, 1847) was a meridazmach (and later negus) of Shewa (1813–1847), an important Amhara noble of Ethiopia. He was a younger son of Wossen Seged.

Sellassie, Sahle: (1936–) is an Ethiopian author who has contributed to at Least four books. The Afersata (1969) in the African Writers Series is perhaps The best known of these works.

Selassie, Zera Yacob Amha: appointed ceremonial crown prince of Ethiopia is the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie and son of Emperorin- Exile Amha Selassie of Ethiopia. After the revolution of 1974, he lived in exile in the United Kingdom, where he had been attending school, and briefly In the United States. He is currently living in Addis Ababa. He is recognized As the head of the imperial house of Ethiopia at the present time.

Wolde, Mamo: (1931–May 26, 2002) was born in the village of DreDele in the Ad-A district about 60 kilometers from Addis Ababa. He had a traditional upbringing, spending most of his childhood in DreDele where he attended a “qes” school. In 1951, he was hired by the Imperial Bodyguard. While in the prestigious armed forces, Mamo was able to further his education. In 1953, he was transferred to the Second Battalion of the Imperial Guard and sent to


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Korea as part of the U.N. peacekeeping mission. He spent two years in Korea where he had a distinguished military service. After returning from Korea, he got married and pursued his passion of athletics. He qualified to be a member of the Ethiopian Olympics team that participated in the Melbourne Olympics in 1962 and produced the best overall performance of the national Olympics team by placing fourth in a 1,500meter race. In 1968, Mamo competed in the 10K race along with other favorite Kenyan athletes Kip Keno and Naphtaly Temo, at which time he won his first silver Olympic medal. He overcame athletes from 44 countries to win a third gold medal in a marathon event for his country. In 1972, at age 39, Mamo participated in the Munich Olympics where he won a bronze medal in the 10K competition. He has participated in a total of 62 international competitions.

Worku, Asnakech: (1935–) is a beloved Ethiopian vocalist. Her trademark is The krar, a traditional stringed instrument similar to a lyre. In 2003, Buda Musique released Ethiopiques 16: The Lady with the Krar, a compact disc that compiles her recordings from the mid1970s.

Yifrashewa, Girma: (b. Addis Ababa, October 15, 1967) is the first Ethiopian Classical pianist to perform widely in Africa. He has also given concerts elsewhere, including Europe and Australia. Married and the father of one child, He lives in Addis Ababa.

Yifter, Miruts: (1938–) was born in the Tigre region of Northern Ethiopia in The district of Adigrat. He spent his youth working in different factories and As a carriage driver. His talent as a long-distance runner was noticed when he performed exceptionally in the 1,500- , 5,000- , and 10,000-meter events in Asmara of northern Ethiopia. Folklore held that Miruts saw athletes from the Ethiopian Air Force racing in the streets and begged the leader of the team to allow him to participate, eventually securing an impressive third-place position. Upon his request, he was allowed to practice with the national team in Preparation for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Miruts competed with


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Athletes from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe and he excelled in 5K And 10K races with outstanding results. His trademark was his ability to spring apart from the pack of runners around the last 200 meters. This unusual burst of energy that earned him numerous victories earned him the nickname “Miruts the Shifter.” In the 1972 Munich Olympics, he took the bronze medal in the 10K but arrived too late for the 5K final. Miruts earned two gold medals for Ethiopia at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Those two victories earned him wide respect and admiration in his country, which was looking to continue the legacy set by the legendary Abebe Bikila and Mamo Wolde. Miruts also had a high chance of securing a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal, Canada, had it not been for the boycott of the game by Ethiopia and other African countries protesting the participation of South Africa. In a long career, Miruts participated in more than 252 races and earned a gold medal in 221 of them. In recognition of his outstanding career, the World Sports Journalists’ Association honored Miruts by awarding him the “Golden Shoe.”

A PLACE WHERE HITORY BECOMES…ALIVE Amran Ethiopia Tour and Travel Tel.: 0118 590176 0118 590175 P.O.Box: 26177 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia E-mail: info@amranethiopia.com www.amranethiopia.com amranethiopia@yahoo.com

AMRAN ETHIOPIA TOUR AND TRAVEL P2  

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