Ababa Tesfaye is not only a good storyteller. He is also a man of several talents. Tesfaye is a gifted artist, magician, musician, master of the stage, poet, an author and others.

By Leulseged Worku |

Ababa Tesfaye is an icon in Ethiopian history, for he spent a good portion of his life nurturing Ethiopian children morally. He is a father figure to millions of children all over the country. The entertainer and educator, Tesfaye Sahelu, rather widely known as Ababa Tesfaye, was the most sought-after artist. It was eagerly parents and children await Yelejoch Gizé, Children’s Show.

During times when there was no alternative TV channel for children, Ababa Tesfaye was the only and the right choice for every family. His common word “lejoch yèzaré abèbawoch yènègè feréwoch dèhna nachu lejoch,” loosely translated as, “children, today’s flowers and tomorrow’s seeds!” is still engraved on the heart of every Ethiopian adult.

When Ababa Tesfaye talks through the Television set no one considers what one watches is a movable image, for he is imperfectly perfect. He was considered as remember of that family. Every child tries to abide by his rules. Whenever a given children misbehaves, his parents allude to Ababa Tesfaye and advise their children see to reason. They will prevail him/her that they will report his/her misbehaving behavior to Ababa Tesfaye.

Tessfaye Sahelu had been serving Ethiopian children for about 41 years at the former ETV or the current EBC. Ababa Tesfaye had been coaching and guiding Ethiopian children for about four decades. Using Yelejoch TV Program (Children’s’ program) and his timeless tales Tesfaye Sahelu had been guiding Ethiopian children. After Tesfaye Sahelu left his job around 2006, he is no more on the screen of ETV/EBC.

Tesfaye Sahelu is not only a good storyteller. He is also a man of several talents. Tesfaye is a gifted artist, magician, musician, master of the stage, poet, an author and others.

As an artist Tesfaye used to play the role of several characters. This includes the role of women and patriots. As a young artist, Tesfaye was also a sociable and active boy. When he was a little child, his father used to encourage him to sing heroic song and act like a warrior with a spear and sword. When he got matured he had a chance to observe patriots chanting war songs. This has given him additional energy to play the role of heroes and warriors with confidence.

What is more, Tesfaye Sahelu is considered as an icon in Ethiopian cross-gender acting. In times when Ethiopian theater had been beset by the dearth of women actress Tesfaye Sahelu was the one who used to fill the gap. Mekenetwan Tefta, Tela Shach, Netsuh Dem, Tewodros, Gonderew Gebremariam were some of the plays in which he played the role of women characters.

Tesfaye Sahelu’s acquaintance with musical instrument goes back to the period he was a little boy. Tesfaye started to play music with an accordion, which he got in a store house. According to sources, he played an elegy with this accordion at the funeral of Queen Zewditu. Honing his skill with that accordion Tesfaye has kept on playing several musical instruments, both traditional and modern.

Tesfaye Sahelu was born in 1924 in Oromia State of Bale, in a special place called Kedu to his mother Yewenzwerk Belete and his father Ejersa Bedane.

Throughout his life time, Tesfaye Sahelu has received not less than ten awards. He was able to receive gold medals and gifts from Emperor Haile Selasse three times. In 2002, he was bestowed with a life time award. He is also a man who received an award of Yebego Sew Shelmat (a reward for society lions) and others.

Ababa Tesfaye is not only considered as the father figure of children, he is still considered as the father figure of millions of grand fathers who are still guided by his tales and moral teachings. He is a good storyteller and narrator and a moral teacher for millions of Ethiopian children. He is now 93. Tesfaye Sahelu, or what is commonly known as, Ababa Tesfaye was an inspirational storyteller for kids.

Source: The Ethiopian Herald
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