Honorable Dr. Kebede Michael (Nov. 2, 1916- Nov. 12, 1998)

By Ethiopia Online Staff |

Dr. Kebede Michael was born on November 2, 1916 in the city of Debre Berhan, in a town called Gerem Gebriel, Ethiopia.

Dr. Kebede Michael received church education is his early days. Later on he came to Addis Ababa and joined Catholic Cathedral School as a boarding student. He then joined Lazarist Catholic Mission School where he completed grade seven. In due course, Kebede went to Alliance éthio-française School where he received training in language and literature.

During his student years, Kebede proved that he had a high receptive capacity for education. He had such a strong bent for the French language, so much that he scored high grades in French exams. In fact, he had wonderful command of the French language. Emperor Haile Selassie I who was aware of Kebede’s qualities and potentials granted him a free scholarship opportunity to go to France and pursue his studies. Unfortunately, Kebede could not make use of that wonderful opportunity because he was taken ill at that time.

Kebede had a great inclination towards assimilating general knowledge and the study of languages. So, he never laid idle. He continued to make consistent efforts in the study of languages and in gathering general knowledge. With the passage of time Kebede had a deep knowledge of Geêz end Amharic languages. He also had a good command of English and French languages. Kebede used to write in all these languages. Not only that, he did a lot of translation works in all the just mentioned languages.

Honorable Dr. Kebede has, after the defeat of Fascist Italian invaders, rendered the following services to his country: as Journalist and Radio Program Announcer, Director General of the Ministry of Education, Director General and top representative in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1942), Director of Postal Administration, Director of His Imperial Majesty’s Private Information Cabinet, Director of National Library and Archives (1944). Kebede had participated in important international conferences as a special representative extra-ordinary and plenipotentiary of the Ethiopian government. He was a regular Ethiopian delegate to many international conferences at the United Nations in New York.

Honorable Dr. Kebede Michael has published over thirty books dealing with various issues including a wide range of translations from various languages. From 1940 to 1970, he wrote Amharic school textbooks in which he provided generations of Ethiopian students with literature filled with knowledge and information about a wide range of issues and disciplines. Some of his works include, but not limited, plays entitled “Belaineh”, “Yetinbit Ketero” (1947); poetry books entitled “Tarikena Missalé” , ”YeQiné Azmera” and “YeDirset Tinsaé”. He also published books on general knowledge entitled “Talalak Sewoch”, “YeSilitané Ayer”, “Anibal” (Hanibal) and “Japan Endemin Seletenech”. He translated, among many others, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth” of William Shakespeare as well as “Beyond Pardon” of Charlotte M. Brame to Amharic.

Kebede Michael’s literary works reflect on the many shades of character and behavior of the Ethiopian society. The contents of many of his books are on history, education, development, philosophy, religion, culture, science and so on. About five of his books have been translated into French and English languages. Kebede Michael was the first ever winner of Haile Selassie I Prize Award in Amharic Literature. In November 1997, he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Addis Ababa University for his unparalleled excellence in literature as well as for inspiring generations of Ethiopian authors and writers. He also received prestigious awards from the governments of France, Germany, Italy, USSR and Mexico. Honorable Doctor Kebede Michael died at the age of 84 on November 12, 1998.

Source used as references: Ethiopian Stories and Ethiopia Stamps
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