By Eden Habtamu, Ezega News
Addis Ababa, August 14, 2009 (Ezega.com) -- Unlike many ordinary days W/o Tilaye Arage’s (mother of Teddy Afro) house is crowded, full of families, relatives, fans and neighbors, to welcome the famous young artist Tewdros Kassahun commonly known as “Teddy-Afro”.
When the reporter of Ezega news, Eden Habtamu, reached the residence of Teddy Afro’s mom near St. Gabriel Hospital, at around 2:00pm local time, the area around the main gate was packed by vehicles. People were going into the compound hurriedly, with most of them not interested in leaving the compound. When I got into the door, three young men who were coming out of the compound, made me laugh by saying “ we have been waiting for you for so long but, he just left now…” as they figured out that I was rushing to meet him also.
The compound was packed by more than one hundred people – people who do not seem to be close family members, since most of the family members were inside the house cheering and cherishing this moment.
There were tables outdoors with buckets of beautiful flowers for the incoming guests as the family assumed the house may not be enough to accommodate all guests.
There was a long banner above the “French” window that reads “Welcome home Teddy ”.
Most of the ladies wore traditional dresses and expressed their gratefulness for Teddy’s release by saying “Elelelele…” His sisters and relatives were busy serving lunch, soft drinks and coffee for every guest whom they knew or never met before.
Many people made the artist busy by asking lots of questions and requesting to be photographed with him. Everyone seems to be in some small wedding party without a bride, as the groom is kissed and hugged by everyone all day.
Though Teddy appears to be very exhausted, he tried his best to be part of his “welcome home party”. He welcomed and thanked everyone who came to his mother’s place.
One thing that I found very interesting was that he was just saying “okay” to everyone and all kinds of questions, trying to satisfy everyone at the same time.
He appears to have gained a bit of weight, although some of his fans I met in his mom’s house told me that he had gained more than this in prison and this is just his normal weight.
I had to wait until he got some three minutes for my questions, but I found it impossible to talk with him without interruption, as he was terribly busy and exhausted by everyone’s questions.
He told Ezega.com that he is very thankful for all his fans, families and relatives who have been visiting and comforting him for the past 18 months in custody. He also said that he learned a lot on how to live with different people in such a difficult circumstance. Finally, he passed his gratitude to everyone with a very reserved and tired tone, as he has been through many questions from people inside the house, interviews from governmental and private media, and pausing for photo with almost everyone.
Meskerem Negussie, a high school teacher whom I met in the “welcome home party”, told me that this moment has a special meaning for her and many other fans of “Teddy Afro”. She told me that she truly likes Teddy Afro because she believes he is smart, creative and a person with integrity and humbleness. She enjoys his music more than other Amharic music. She told me that she had visited him many times while he was in custody and she is very glad that she became part of this moment.
It is to be recalled that Teddy Afro spent the past 18 month in prison, serving a two-year sentence for a hit and run accident that killed a homeless man named Degu Yibelete in Addis Ababa in 2007.
This article was written by Eden Habtamu reporting for Ezega.com from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She can be reached by email at News@Ezega.com. The article can be reprinted in full or in part elsewhere but only by giving full credit to Ezega. If reprinted on a website, we ask that you place this active link: Ezega Ethiopian News, pointing to http://www.Ezega.com.