The Legendary Ethiopian Artist Ababa Tesfaye has passed away

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Abbay Media News
Yoftahe Hailu

The father of many, the gentle giant who was affectionately known as Ababa Tesfaye by millions of Ethiopians passed away today. The news of his passing does not come as a great shock since he was 94, but it signifies a great loss for multiple generations.  A friend summed it up when he told me, “he felt like he lost a family member”.

Ababa Tesfaye was indeed a family member for generations of Ethiopians.  We grew up with him tickling our imaginations and expanding our horizon with his incredible story telling abilities.  He came into our living room and taught us right from wrong.  He taught us about civic responsibilities and love of country. But most of all, he entertained us.  Who would ever forget him talking to us, hey you on the right, please behave.  Hey, you, move to the right.  Awo, gosh lijoch. We all felt he was talking to us directly.  His gentle voice and demeanor make him unique and one of a kind.  He certainly has a special place in the hearts of millions of Ethiopians.

In 2008, He was the guest of honor for the Ethiopians Sports Federation in North America when the event was in DC.  Ababa Tesfaye was not able to walk 20 yards in half an hour.  It was a sight to behold.  Everyone wanted a picture with him.  Everyone wanted a hug and a kiss from him.  The kids were bewildered to see their parents act like children before this great man.  However, it didn’t take too long for the kids to join the fray and start calling him Ababa Tesfaye themselves.  It speaks volumes of his magnetic personality that attracts children of all generations.

Ethiopians are in desperate need of great role models like him.  We are in need of a bigger than life personality who’d unify us and teach us right from wrong.  Who would that be?  Who would step into his big shoes?

May God rest his soul.  We love and miss you Ababa Tesfaye.  May you rest in peace.