RIP: The Death of the Icons
“Death is what makes life an event” Ralf Waldo Emerson
It is true that great geniuses have short biography; however, the greatest ones have the longest biographies. When it comes to the century’s old Ethiopian literature and art, the very few poets, writers, singers, authors, actors and actresses have done a lot, hence the longest biographies.
Most of Ethiopian icons of the entertainment world are glorified before they were pronounced dead. Some very few remain being heroes of the people after they passed away. Their post humus works will always be promoted and remembered. The most remarkable ones like Debebe Seifu, Bealu Girma, Tilahun gesese, Demise Tsige, kebede Michael, Gebrekiristos Desta, Eskindir Bogosian and many others have passed away leaving their masterpieces in different directions.
The year 2011/2012, specialy has been gloomy on Ethiopian art and literature, for it has so far taken away four honorable icons: Asnakech Worku,Sibhat Gebreegzabher, Mamo Wudneh and Maitre Afework Tekle.
1. Asnakech Worku(1935-september 14,2011)
One of the most beautiful, modern and fashionable lady of her time, Asnakech was more than an artist. She was one of the famous Ethiopian singers with her trade mark instrument of “kirar”. She was born around 6 kilo. She bought her first Kirar for only 25 cents and taught her self how to play and performed in many small bars and cabarets.
She was the first actress in Ethiopia. She acted at the City hall Theatre in 1952. After that, she had been working at the national theatre for 30 years until she retired in 1980.In 2003 Ethiopiques released “the Lady with Kirar”, a CD which compiles her recordings from the mid 1970s. The CD enabled her to be remembered and, some how, known for the young generation. Her longest carrer of more than 50 years ends up on September 14, 2012.
2. Sibhat Gebre Egzabher(1936-february 20,2012)
A writer, critic, editor, columnist, teacher, author, poet, this all is Sibhat and he was more than this. Any one can say things, but when it comes to Sibhat, he says it more than anyone else. His lofty expressions, down-to-earth personality and naturalistic peculiarities have made Sibhat a man of all times. Every one knows him: the young and the old generation, the Muslim and the Christian, the elite and the layman. For every one of us there is different Sibhat. He was million type and, of course, million years old.
He as born in 1928 in Tigray region near the historic town of Adwa in a village called Erba Gered. He published works of fiction and non-fiction in Amharic, France and English. He worked as a journalist and columnist for Ethiopian Herald, Addis Zemen , Mennen Magazine and other various newspapers
He visited Washington D.C. in 1960 to study library, but he came back home, for he didn`t like it there. He then traveled to France where his literary life flourished. He was awarded by the UNESCO in those days.
Sibhat pioneered naturalistic writing styles in Amharic. He used simple words and light prose, but his concepts are highly sophisticated and philosophical.
3. Mamo Wudneh.
The great Ethiopian literary figure of the past half century, Mamo, was born in Wollo. He lost his parents in the battle against the fascist Italian occupation in 1936-41.
He published 53 books and 8 plays in Amharic (original and translation) for the last 54 years. He was known for his works of world of espionage and spies. He worked on several newspapers in Addis Ababa and Asmara. From 1966-1970 he served as head of Government Press Department in Asmara. He also served as president of the writers association of Ethiopia. During his career he won many awards.
After being diagnosed of cardiovascular disease, Mamo passed away at the age of 77 on March 2, 2012.
4. Maitre Afewerk Tekle
For one artist to win more than 80 international and local prizes and rewards is not just an easy success. Nor it is attainable for an ordinary painter who was born in a rural African village to be known globally. Nevertheless, Afewerk had succeeded in all these, for he was more than just an ordinary painter.
World Forum Federation named Afewerk” The Greatest Artist of the 21st Century” along with 1000 people. He received his prize of “The Greatest Man on Earth” on the occasion held on June 22-27 in Washington. His name along with his work and the flag of Ethiopia is put on the moon years ago. In this regard he is the only privileged African.
Afewerk had been rewarded since he was a student. He received more than 10 prizes including an Honorary Award of the Emperor for artistic contribution along with Kebede Michael, a renowned poet, play writer, author and teacher. More over, Afewerk had been one of the most favored artists of his time by Emperor Hailesilassie.
He was born in 1923 in a small town of Ankober. He passed away on Tuesday 9th April, 2012 in Addis Ababa.
The death of these icons is not a lose for Ethiopians, for they will remain in our hearts all the way. Their achievement and huge contribution for their country will be glorified and commemorated as long as the entire civilization of the planet exists. Rest in Peace……………
Lives of great men all reminds us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Foot prints on the sands of time.
HENERY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
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