Rekik Alehegn Makonnen

Dear Readers:
A belated Happy New Year to our Ethiopian readers! As Dr. Ayele Bekerie's timely essay on the fascinating history of the Ethiopian calendar reminds us, Ethiopians celebrated their New Year on September 12. We hope many of you had a chance to enjoy the festivities and to gather with family and friends.

Embarking on the New Year, we are also mindful of the past and revisit history in several articles. This year marks the 100th anniversary of U.S.-Ethiopia diplomatic relations. Liben Eabisa and Awetu Simesso reflect on the continuing significance of the forging of these relations. As part of our goal to promote the heritage of Ethiopia, we have also included the first part of an essay on Ethiopia's link to the Pan-African movement. Scholar Lindsey Herbert outlines the history of the Shashamane Rastafarians, tracing the origins of their beliefs to Ethiopia, the keystone of Rastafarianism.

Since its inception, Tadias has worked to bridge the growing Ethiopian communities in the United States (and abroad) by foregrounding issues that are relevant to all of us. We honor Drs. Reginald and Catherine Hamlin for a lifetime of work to eradicate fistula, a problem common in many developing countries where prenatal care is limited or simply unavailable. The story of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and the inspiring accomplishments of a small but dedicated medical team is the subject of Tseday Alehegn's essay. In her contribution to increasing awareness of women's struggles and achievements, Tasnim Fidali presents the pioneering work of Meaza Ashenafi, the founder and executive director of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), and reports on some of the more prominent cases tackled by the organization. Tadias is also pleased to review a film on the impact of HIV/AIDS on Ethiopian women. This compelling documentary, from Academy Award-nominee Dorothy Fadiman and producer Amy L. Hill, discusses the social implications of stigmatization as well as approaches to combat the AIDS pandemic.

The success story of Tesemma Gabriele Tesfa Guma, famed guitarist and modern dancer, is sure to resonate with many of our readers. Tesemma, who came to the United States as a teenager, was a member of Philadanco for several years before founding his band, Tangible Truth. With their innovative sounds and infectious dynamism, the band has won over fans and garnered much acclaim. Ellias Fullmore introduces us to the Burntface movement, a group of highly lyrical and conceptual artists blazing the trail in African hip hop music. For the Burntface artists, hip hop is more than just music; it is a philosophy that embodies the ideas of unity in diversity and social activism.

In this vein, we at Tadias venture to inspire and educate. We hope you find something of value in our fifth issue and we hope the passionate stories presented in this issue challenge you to embrace the world with open arms. And, of course, to give back with open hearts.

Finally, please join us in welcoming Rekik Alehegn Mekonnen, the new Editor-in-chief of Tadias Magazine.

Dr. Catherine Hamlin & AFFCI: Inside the Fistula Project

"It is the oldest medical cause in the world. There is currency dug out of pyramids containing images of fistula, yet in the 21st century it is the most neglected cause," Dr. Catherine Hamlin tells us. While the last American hospital for fistula patients closed its doors in 1895, the first one of its kind opened almost 8 decades later in Ethiopia. Since its inception in 1974, the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital founded by Dr. Reginald and Catherine Hamlin has treated over 25,000 women, the majority of whom have been cured and have returned to their villages to live healthy, normal lives. continued...

Hellina's Runway Designs
Hellina Mesfen, a Washington D.C.-based designer, has made her mark by mixing fabric and non-traditional fashion items. Hellina was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This luminous lady started knitting and doing simple patterns at the age of 10. While her interest in fashion started at a young age, her dream of designing clothes for herself and others did not become reality until she came to the United States.


Tesemma Gabriele Tesfa Guma:
America's Favorite Ethiopian Guitarist

100 years of U.S.-Ethiopia Relations:
Conference at Stanford University

Women of Substance: Africa Prize laureate Meaza Ashenafi & EWLA

images of community events...

Listening to Children
by Enanu Haileleoul

In 1995, I was a volunteer teacher at the Sunday school for my church in California. I had no formal training as a teacher and based most of what I taught on the students' needs. It was common practice in my class to start off the lessons by discussing what their week was like in school and the various problems they encountered while trying to implement one of the Christian values that they had learned, e.g. obedience, humility, etc. They never ceased to amaze me.. continued...

A Conversation with Almaz Dama:
Former White House Pastry Chef
by Emmanuel Mekuria


The Burntface Movement:
Futuristic African Rap Music
by Ellias aka 'The Profit'

Surafel Assaminew Gebreweld:
Poet, Musician, Author

Fifth Issue:

I just wanted to send a quick note to tell you how much I appreciate Tadias Magazine. In appreciation and due to the Ethiopian New Year 1996, I herewith send you the card I made. Please keep up the good work and thanks for giving us a great magazine.

Sebhat Berhanu
Via the Internet

I've greatly enjoyed each of your first four issues, and have made Tadias my guidebook to understanding Ethiopian culture. Jewish Family Service of Silicon Valley is working with a group of recent arrivals from Ethiopia, helping them to get settled in their new life. We offer many services, including English as a Second Language and Job Readiness classes. However, our clients still need your help! Anyone who would like to e-mail us advice about acculturating to life in the United States, or share with us your own success story, or send the contact information of local employers who might be helpful in placing our clients, can write to: jennieb@jfssv.org. We will share these e-mails with our students. Thank you in advance for your support.

Jennie Brook, Career Counselor
San Jose, California


My response is to a letter in the August/September 2003 issue from Jessica Teshome regarding her relationship with her husband. Jessica, do you know that the population of Ethiopia is over sixty million? And the behavior of your husband represents only himself, not the entire Ethiopian society? You are wrong in comparing your view of the Ethiopian culture with your husband's behavior. Like every nation, Ethiopia also has people with both good and bad behavior and each and every one of us is responsible for our actions. You cannot hold an entire culture/nation accountable for the actions of individuals.

Samson A. Yetayew
Union City, California

Cover: Dr. Bogaletch Gebre

Dear Editors:

I read your cover story on Dr. Bogaletch and I was impressed with this extraordinary woman. Thank you for sharing with us her inspiring story in such a compassionate way. I must say that your magazine is making a leap forward with each issue. Keep up the good work.

Haile Baltcha
New York City, New York

Special Thanks:

Our warm thanks to Abdi and Senait of Sainte Claire Newsstand in San Jose, California, for providing us with the original copy of the 1917 Chicago Defender newspaper, which was the subject of our history article in the last issue.