Posted by Liya Nuru on
I’m not sure how many people got to see the video where Teddy Afro collaborated with other African music stars for Coca Cola’s world cup ad. I got the chance to watch it recently – and hence the trigger for my letter today. It got me thinking of Teddy’s contribution to music, his country, and the young generation. I don’t write this with blind adoration of Teddy as a faultless individual but in spite of his short comings.
Thank you for representing us on world stage, where we are continually unaccounted for. Thank you for carrying the torch that our soccer boys lighted to the finish line. Not only our Waliyas, but you also, tore down the wall of our limitations.
Thank you for challenging our habits and values. It’s surprising that the challenge isn’t coming from our intellects and academic thinkers but from someone whom we’ve dubbed as a ‘simple singer’.
For those of us who believe in an eye for an eye, you’ve challenged us with the gospel of forgiveness – a challenge that we don’t seem to accept at times. In a culture that has become oblivious to us, you’ve celebrated the lives of our stars on your stages. I was a personal witness when you celebrated the life of Ethiopia’s great singer – Tilahun Gessesse. Indeed, respecting the good in others is celebrating the good in ourselves. How else can we live in harmony and respect under one roof?
Thank you for continually reminding us about our identity. In your loving song for Africa, you’ve uplifted our vision to a horizon beyond being Ethiopian. Yes, most of us fetch wisdom in a faraway land, sometimes out of necessity; but thank you for reminding us that the very source of most of that wisdom was found in our own African rivers and land – to which we’ve become strangers. (“tibeb rike Sikeda endet lihun le wonze bada”).
Yes, like the words in your song, winter is never warm and summer never cold – and so goes our identity; it won’t change even if we change our passports and residences. Who we are still remains.
Thank you for reminding us about our days of glory in our kingdoms of the past – because like you said, there is no future that doesn’t have a past (“yehualaw kelele yelem ye fitu”).
Most of us living in the outside world experience at least occasionally the cruel hand of being judged for the color of our skin and our nationality. I generally try never to attribute my skin color as the reason for conflict but even my most optimistic eyes can’t hide the truth sometimes. I live through a stereotype that considers it a miracle to believe that a black person can excel, leave alone make history. And so perhaps it’s those of us who experience this on a daily basis that completely understand the great value in Teddy’s message of ‘Tikur Sew’. Yes a black nation, led by a black leader, made an astonishingly brave history. And it left an inerasable mark on History and sent a clear and bold message to the world – smashing all stereotypes and affirming that ‘Tikur Sew’ is ‘Kibur Sew’ – honorable and courageous.
Indeed, had our forefathers and foremothers hesitated to accept the call of Menelik and Taitu, had they been divided enough to say I am Oromo/Tigre/Amhara…first and hence ignored their call, we would have never been the proud and courageous people we are today.
Yes, had they never accepted that call, they couldn’t have preserved the country for their children; then we would have never argued about our ethnicity (of being Oromo/Amhara/Tigre), instead our dialogue would have been about breaking the bonds of slavery.
Moreover, history would not have had a proof that black people are history makers. History would have never recorded that a black nation, led by a black leader, could defeat a European nation out of sheer unity, faith, and bravery! And so when we celebrate Adwa and the leadership of a black man in the war, we are celebrating history that others had considered impossible! We are celebrating the gift of our forefathers and mothers – and their gift was their own lives – it was blood shed so we can live in love and unity. It wasn’t shed so we become a divided nation.
A lot of gratitude to our forefathers and mothers who gave value to unity in spite of their differences – they gave us the gift of walking on the streets of the world with our heads held up high!
eursoldieratthemercyofanafricanThank you Teddy Afro for capturing that moment in a sensational music and video where we saw,perhaps for the first time, a European soldier at the mercy of an African one. Thank you for trying to show us the bravery and unity in Adwa – the value of which we have forgotten.
Dear Teddy, we might not agree with you on some issues for we know you’re not perfect as none of us is. But may we always choose to disagree in a way that will help and not break our bond. Dialogues are invaluable if carried out in a respectful manner. We can hold the opinion as disrespectful without disrespecting the person who expressed the opinion.
Thank you Teddy for trying hard to preach what you consider to be of important values. And while you’re at it, know that the gospel of love comes with the price of being misunderstood at times; let me now preach back to you what you’ve been preaching to us cause sometimes you need to hear it too – Love will conquer the current buzz because of your opinions; Love will win the day.
God bless you and the country you love!
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