Ethiopia Culture

Ethiopia Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Ethiopia

According to EXTRAREFERENCE.COM, Ethiopia is a country located in Africa. The daily press in Ethiopia has a relatively limited distribution (less than 1 newspaper ex. Per 1,000 residents, 2000) and is subordinate to the government. The country’s two daily newspapers, Addis Zemen (founded in 1941; edition: about 40,000 copies) of the Amharic and English-speaking Ethiopian Herald (founded 1943; about 35,000 copies), are published in Addis Ababa by the Ministry of Information. There are about 15 major weekly newspapers and magazines, of which Mesherem (about 100,000 copies) and Ye Zareito Ethiopia (about 30,000 copies) are the largest.

The radio and television are also state controlled. Radio Ethiopia (founded in 1941) broadcasts both national and regional programs in several languages. The partly-financed Ethiopian Television (founded in 1964) broadcasts daily in one channel. There are 189 radio and 6 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, the teachings and conceptual world of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have greatly influenced the culture of Christian Ethiopians. This applies to classical literature, visual arts, architecture and music.

The classic literature was written in the church language ge’ez, originally spoken in the Kingdom of Aksum (see Ancient History). This literature reached its peak during the 1300s. Then came its most famous work, Kebra Negast (Kings of glory). It tells the legend of King Solomon, the queen of Sheba and their son Menelik I, who is said to have founded an Ethiopian kingship.

Ethiopia’s modern literature is mainly written in Amharic. Among the 20th century writers are Mekonnin Indalkachew, Birhanu Zerihun and Baalu ​​Girma. More contemporary are the two American-Ethiopian writers Abraham Verghese, whose debut novel “Cut for Stone” came out in Swedish in 2009, and Maaza Mengiste whose “Under the Lion’s Eye”, about the last Emperor’s fall, came out in Swedish in 2010.

The visual arts have been heavily influenced by Byzantine culture and have long depicted only Christian religious motifs. For the past hundred years, artists have broken with this tradition and have, among other things, depicted Ethiopian rulers and famous field teams. A popular painting has also been developed. The sculptures adhere to the style of painting. The same style also characterizes the metal crafts and jewelery art, which have ancient traditions.

Church building dates back to the 300s. The famous rock churches of Lalibela, from the early 13th century, have been carved directly from the rock. One of the most important architectural works is a 21 meter high obelisk in Aksum. Ethiopia in 2005 recovered another, 24 meters high obelisk, which the Italian occupation troops had stolen in 1937 and brought to Rome. For nearly 70 years, Ethiopians had to fight before the war was returned to their homeland.

Traditional music is dominated by the music of the Orthodox Church. Ethiopian church music consists of unanimous alternating song with clapping and sometimes dancing. Among the Amharas are wandering troubadours, azmari.

Ethiopia also produces modern popular music with foreign influences. Among the biggest artists is singer and reggae star Teddy Afro (who is actually called Tewodro’s Kassahun). His music was banned in state media since the opposition used one of his songs in the election campaign in 2005. Later, he was convicted of his refusal to prison for an infectious accident.



Continued violence requires over 60 lives

December 20

The EU calls for an independent inquiry to curb the violence between the Oromo and Somali people. According to officials, at least 61 people have been killed in new outbreaks during the past week. Both sides accuse each other of having started the violence that originated in ground fighting. In a televised speech to the nation, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn laments the violence and calls them “mass murder”.


The Oromo-Somali conflict flares up again

November 27th

State media reports that more than 20 people have been killed in new fighting between the Oromo and Somali people over the past week. In September, hundreds of people were killed and tens of thousands were fled when the most serious fighting in several years erupted on the border between the states of Oromia and Somali. The conflict concerns who is entitled to the land along the border between the states.


New protests in the Oromia region

15 October

New protests against the government are breaking out in the Oromia region and are reported to last about a week. Protesters fire vehicles, among other things, and security forces respond violently. Civilians should have been hit according to the analysis service Global Insight Daily Analysis, which, however, does not mention any figures of possibly killed or injured.

The currency is devalued

October 11

Danmarks Nationalbank devalues ​​the currency birr by 15 percent. At the same time, the key rate is raised by 7 percentage points to 7 percent. According to the bank, this is done to control inflationary pressure and promote exports. In September, the inflation rate was 10.8 percent on an annual basis. Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with an estimated growth of 9 percent for the financial year 2016-2017. The growth is largely due to large public investments in hydropower and other infrastructure.

The President of Parliament resigns

October 8

The Speaker of Parliament’s lower house, Abadula Gemeda, announces his resignation. Gemeda is a high ranking member of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), which is one of the four parties within the ruling EPRDF. He explains the departure with the lack of respect he believes the EPRDF has shown the Oromo people and OPDO in connection with the unrest in 2015 and 2016.


New battles between Oromo and Somali

September 26th

A two-week outbreak of violence between the Oromo and Somali people, according to the authorities, requires hundreds of lives and sends tens of thousands of people to flight. A government spokesman said the fighting was triggered when security forces from the Somali region on September 11 intervened and killed two officials in the Oromia region. The battles are the most serious in several years. Oromo and Somali have for years disputed who owns the agricultural land along the border between the regions (see also August 2017).


Bloody battles in Oromia

August 28th

About 65 people are killed in clashes in the Oromia region between local armed groups and special police from the Somali neighboring region. The conflict between the country’s two largest ethnic groups, Oromo and Somali, has increased in frequency and intensity during the year. The battles that are now erupting continue for several days. The conflict concerns who has the right to use the land in disputed areas along the border between the regions.

The state of emergency claimed

August 4th

With reference to the stabilization of the situation in the country, the authorities repeal the exceptions laws that have prevailed since October 2016.


6.5 years in prison for opposition politicians

May 25

Yonatan Tesfaye, former spokesman for the Blue Party, is sentenced to six and a half years in prison for “encouraging terrorism”. He has been detained since December 2015, when he was arrested after accusing the government of using Facebook for “using violence against the people instead of engaging in peaceful discussions with the public”.

Ethiopian head of WHO

May 23

Ethiopia’s former Health Minister Tedros Adhanom is elected head of the World Health Organization WHO. On July 1, he succeeds Margaret Chan. The important UN body has long been considered in need of reform. WHO has received harsh criticism for its late actions during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa from 2013.

The UN calls for releases

May 4th

UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein calls on the Ethiopian government to release prisoners and reduce the use of anti-terror laws. Zeid says that the mass arrests following the unrest in 2016 raise doubts that everyone is really guilty of crime. He also questions the prosecutor’s motives for routinely invoking anti-terror laws against bloggers and opposition activists. Zeid also regrets that he was not allowed to visit the places where protests occurred


Exception laws are extended

March 30

Approves the extension of the state of emergency declared in October by a further four months; The Minister of Defense says it should allow the authorities to “completely restore peace and order”.

Garbage buries slum area

11th of March

An entire slum area is buried by garbage when Ethiopia’s largest landfill in Koshe in Addis Ababa crashes. After four days, 113 people are reported to have been found dead. According to the Minister of Communications, most victims are women. The government promises that the survivors will get new housing in a safer area.

Opposition prosecuted

March 1st

The government is prosecuting three opposition activists for rioting for riots, destruction of property and coup preparation. The only one to stand trial is Merera Gudina, who was arrested in December after a trip to Europe. The two others, Jawar Mohammed and Berhanu Negra, live in exile. Negra is already sentenced to death after another trial. All are active in the rights of the Oromo people.


Ten thousand prisoners are pardoned

January 10

State media reports that about 10,000 of the documented 11,000 prisoners detained in Oromia during the state of emergency have been pardoned.

Ethiopia Culture

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