Laureate Tsegaye Gebremedihin Cultural Studies and Research Center

Laureate Tsegaye Gebremedihin Cultural Studies and Research Center

More precisely, the center is striving to promote indigenous knowledge, art, and music of the surrounding community. Ambo University envisions becoming a renowned University of choice in eastern Africa. ​ Thus in order to achieve part of this vision, Laureate Tsegaye Gebre-Medihin Kawessa Cultural Studies and Research Center is striving to revitalize the spiritual and material culture of the surrounding community in particular and Ethiopia in general.

Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin Kawessa was born in a village known as Bodda, which is located at a distance of not more than 30 Km from Ambo town where he attended his elementary education and planted the seed of literary work writing his first play in English in his fifteen years old about ‘King Dionysus and the Two brothers’ which was staged at Ambo in the presence, among others Haile Selassie I.

He had an exceptional quality and talent and had been continuously fruitful for a half a century as ‘a poet, playwright, essayist, social critic, philologist, historiographer, dramatist, synthesis, peace activist, and artistic director’ (Gdlie, 2019; Negussay, 2000).  He wrote many poets and more than 30 plays most of them in Amharic and translated a number of plays of others including Shakespeare’s and Moliere’s into Amharic (Gdlie, 2019; Negussay, 2000). More precisely, to mention some of the works of Shakespeare translated by Laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, MacbethHamletOthello and so on. Moreover, he also translated Molière‘s Tartuffe and Le Médecin malgré lui, as well as Bertolt Brecht‘s Mother Courage works.

In addition, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin Kawessa was proud of Ethiopia’s long history of independence and her unique cultural heritage. He insisted emphatically that his country needed heroes, and used the theatre deliberately to teach his compatriots to respect the Ethiopian heroes of their past. One of the most widely acclaimed of his plays, Tewodros, commemorates the life of Tewodros II. Considered a pioneer reformer and modernizer, the emperor committed suicide in 1868 rather than fall into the hands of a hostile British expeditionary force.

Another of Gabre-Medhin Kawessa’s plays, Petros at the Hour, tells the story of Abune Petros, the Bishop who accompanied the Ethiopian troops in their struggle to resist the Italian fascist occupation. Captured by the enemy on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the prelate was executed after a show trial. A third play, The Oda Oak Oracle, a tragedy about Ethiopian country life, also enjoyed great popularity, both in Ethiopia and abroad.

In sum, the University has established Laureate Tsegaye G/Medihin Kawessa Cultural Studies and Research Center to achieve the following objectives: Produce many Tsegayes, pave the way for the new generation to respect the works of their seniors and follow their footprint, conducting researches on language, culture, literature, and art.

“Interview on what Ethiopia means to the average American” Laureate Tsegaye Gebre-Medihin Kawessa

Responsible Staff: Samuel Leykun

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