Teddy Afro (in Amharic: ቴዲ አፍሮ; real name: Tewodros Kassahun, in Amharic: ቴዎድሮስ ካሳሁን, born 14 July 1976) is a popular Ethiopian singer.
Rise to fame
In 2001, Teddy Afro released his second album, Abugida, named after the Abugida syllabary of the Ge'ez language. Several tracks quickly caught the ear of many listeners in Ethiopia - "Halieselassie", a tribute to the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I; "Haile, Haile", a single in honor of the Olympic long distance champion Haile Gebrselassie; and "Mona Lisa", a song about the measure of human beauty.
His third album, Yasteseryal, was released in 2005. The release of this album coincided with elevated political tension in Ethiopia surrounding the Ethiopian general election, 2005. His politically and socially inspired songs acted as a call for unity and peace and made the 17 years of TPLF-led government in power concerned. Consequently the government banned four songs including "Yasteseryal" from playing on radios and TV. The most popular song of the album "Yasetseryal" claims that there is no real change in Ethiopia but a new government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fight against the Derg was nothing but an infamous military junta. The album sold more than a million copies within a few months after its release, becoming the biggest selling Ethiopian music album to date.
Afro was accused of hit-and-run manslaughter and was imprisoned in April 2008. Some sources claimed that the accusation was politically motivated, following the release of several songs critical of the government, especially during the May 2005 national election. Afro pleaded not guilty to these allegations, and his court case and imprisonment were national talking points in Ethiopia. Some members of the opposition viewed his imprisonment as part of the regime in Ethiopia attack on symbols of Ethiopian unity. Afro was convicted of manslaughter on 5 December 2008 and the judge sentenced him to six years' imprisonment and a fine of 18,000 Birr (apr. 1800 USD). On 18 February 2009, Afro's prison sentence was reduced from six years to two years by an appellate court. On 13 August 2009, Afro was released from prison eight months early on account of good behaviour in prison.
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