Teddy Afro’s “Ethiopia” Translated into English
Ethiopian Professor Alemayehu Gebremariam, a Lecturer of Political Science at California State University, San Bernardino, has translated Teddy Afro’s much beloved “Ethiopia” song into English aiming for those native Ethiopians, who have born and raised abroad.
He wrote on his commentaries blog that, “I have prepared this translation for two reasons”. And, his reasons are;
Firstly, said Professor Alemayehu, to help young Ethiopians in the Diaspora who do not speak or understand Amharic get a glimpse of the musical genius of Teddy Afro, and;
Secondly, to acquaint them with the metaphysics of “Ethiopiawinet”, a state of being and consciousness, a philosophy and way of life, a system of beliefs and praxis of being Ethiopian. I do not believe there is anyone today who can explain Ethiopiawinet (“Ethiopianity”) better than Tewdros Kassahun.
Certainly, no one better to communicate it to the younger generation. I also hope to introduce this musical legend to my global readership so that they too may appreciate and enjoy his music as millions have come to appreciate Ethiopian cuisine throughout the world. “If music be the food of love, play on,” wrote Shakespeare.
Here you can find Professor Alemayehu’s English version poem for Teddy Afro’s Ethiopia:-
Even if I pass [die] away
My motherland [Ethiopia]
She [remains] is my honor
Indeed, [she is] my [mother] country.
So many have died
Guarding your [her] honor
Against those who have crossed seas
To dishonor you [her].
You are the land of heroes
[Land] Where Adam left his footprints
The fountainhead of Ghion [river mentioned in Ch. 2, Genesis]
[From where] your name is called out.
Not only those who see your flag waving in the SKY
Even those who hear the name “Ethiopia” [dare] keep quiet
Not only those who see your flag waving in the sky
Even those who hear the name “Ethiopia” [dare] keep quiet.
With your rainbow [shining]
The sky draped with your flag
Your symbol is imprinted on the palm of the world
And known [even] to Aryam [Ge’ez: sky above all skies, heaven].
Mountain [ranges] of high peaks
Have stood guard over you
[From] The peak of mountains
That citadel of Axum, Ethiopia.
You are the gate to Creation
The [beginning] chapter for the round world
If [rainbow] colors are seen across the SKY
It is hers [Ethiopia’s] and no one else’s.
Even though the world calls her [Ethiopia] backward today
She will be the front runner of the coming age
Just let me repeat her name over and over
Isn’t Ethiopia my own name?
If there is less food [injera] on the table [Ethiopia is poor]
Is it possible to TRADE one’s [poor] mother for anything else
I will hold tight on her skirt
And never give up hope in my mother.
Before [I] finish paying her [Ethiopia] for all her favors
Should not people say [shout out] “Unity” when they hear [the name] Ethiopia
Ethiopia! Ethiopia! My country!
Isn’t my honor because of you?
You are the seed of Solomon
Tears of the holy ones from which your leaf sprouted
It should be nothing new [not be surprised] today to those
Who touched [provoked] you to be burned by the fire they lit.
Without any limitation to your glory
In the book of your heritage with the history of the spirit of the ages [written]
The prophets saw you from afar and wrote in their books:
“Don’t touch Ethiopia!”
In the north
In the south
In the east and in the west
May your bounty be full!
Begone hardship [misery] from the land [Ethiopia]
Let your bounty be full!
Begone hardship [misery] from your land [Ethiopia]
Let your bounty be full!