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Senamirmir Interviews


"Aleqa Tekle-Iyesus (1868-1936) was born in Albasa, Kutay, in northeastern Wellega, to parents Waqjira and Gelené. He was taken captive at the age of six in a raid by Dejjazmach Elémtu Goshu, the uncle of King Tekle-Haymanot (1875). His captor-cum-guardian brought him up with church education having sent him first to his own father confessor, and later on to the monastic school at Dima Giyorgis. It was when his guardian had him baptized that his original name, Negero, was changed to Tekle-Iyesus. Tekle-Iyesus, Oromo by birth, grew up with strong Gojjamé identity and devoting a huge part of his life to record its regional history and its ancestral traditions. His artistic talent earned him fame and royal patronage. Admired for his illuminations of manuscripts, for church murals and for engravings to the court and churches/monasteries of Gojjam, and created as Aleqa with the benefice of the church of Zebéch Iyesus, he was at the height of his fortune in the last decade of the 19 century..."
--Ato Girma Getahun

"My mother’s name was Trunesh Welde Mariam. She was the daughter of a farmer in Bale known by the nick-name Minjare Weldemariam. He was a very enlightened person. All his children including the girls were taught how to read and write. In those days (about 80 years ago) very few people used to teach their male children let alone the female ones. So my mother was my first teacher. I learned how to read and write Amharic at home. I do not know where she got it but my mother knew some basic arithmetic too...."
--Amha Asfaw

"At the third time, for refusing to comply with the wishes of the authorities, Haleka Tewolde Medhin was sentenced to death. Twice, they took him to an infamous old warka tree in Adwa to be hanged, (a very common spot for hanging bandits, murderers, and criminals of similar caliber,) and twice he narrowly escaped death by miraculous coincidences..."
--G.E. Gorfu

"...But after living in Ethiopia for awhile, and after my first couple of fieldtrips in the Afar, there was no way I would consider returning to the U.S. Ethiopia impressed me greatly--an extraordinary country with a remarkable history and culture, and of course the potential of the Afar to science was unlimited."
--Jon Kalb

"When the Italians left, I came to Addis Ababa where I found my father in the compound of the old Trinity Church in one of the one-room shelters built to protect a grave. (I never asked who was the guy on whose grave I slept for several years before we moved out. His people never came to disturb us.)..."
--Dr. Getatchew Haile

"My mother, Sylvia Pankhurst, the former British Suffragette (for whom a statue in London is now being planned), was by conviction a socialist, libertarian and feminist...

My interest in Ethiopia - and Africa (we were all Pan-Africanists in those days!) led me in 1956 to travel to Addis Ababa, to teach at the then new University College of Addis Ababa, which became the nucleus of Haile Sellassie I (later Addis Ababa) University..."
--Dr. Richard Pankhurst
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