የአለታ ወንዶ ከተማ ተወላጅ፣ ገጣምና መምህር ይልማ ተፈራ ጣሰው ማረፋቸውን ሰምተናል::
በአቃፊዋ ሲዳማ በአለታ ወንዶ ከተማ ተወልደው ፣ በአባትነት፣ በአንደኛ እና ሁለተኛ ደረጃ ትምህርት ቤቶት በአስተማሪነት ህዝባቸውን አገልግለው፤ በስዴት ዘመናቸውም ብሆን በተለይ በኬንያ እና ኒውዝላንድ ለኢትዮጵያውያን ስደተኞች መብቶች መከበር ታግሏል። በእሳቸው ህልፈት ሞት የተሰማንን ሀዘን ለቤተሰቦቻቸው እና ወዳጅ ዘመዶቻቸው መግለጽ እንወዳለን። 😢
Yilma Tafere Tasew, poet: July 15, 1957 to September 21, 2020
Writing was a “medicine” to Ethiopian-born poet Yilma Tafere Tasew.
It had been the tonic that helped him come to terms with displacement from his homeland and the experiences during the years he spent in Kenyan refugee camps before settling in New Zealand.
“Writing is not an adventure,” he once said, “writing is a medicine, a pain relief."
It was certainly a portal through which he lamented his difficult journey, from a respected primary and secondary school teacher to an exiled agitator.
Born in the small town of Aleta Wendo, in southern Ethiopia, he grew up in a rural area where his mother was a homemaker and his father a trader.
He was a keen student and, after secondary education, he went to the teachers’ training centre in Kotebe, Addis Ababa, graduating with distinction.
He was a vocal advocate for freedom of expression during the civil war, which raged in Ethiopia from 1974 to 1991, and was arrested and imprisoned for being a sympathiser of the opposition political party.
In 1991, he was forced to leave Ethiopia and live in exile in Kenya’s Ora Walda Kakuma Refugee Camp.
Tasew said: "Writing is not an adventure, writing is a medicine, a pain.: relief."
While there he was a voice for thousands of refugees who were seeking resettlement in other countries. He worked as a social worker for the Lutheran World Federation at Kakuma Refugee Camp and was the founder and chairperson of the Ethiopian community there.
He established the first refugee news bulletin and library for refugees in Kenya.
Tasew took refuge in reading and writing.
He wrote of the Kakuma camp: “Malaria, typhoid and hunger killed people every day. Unknown armed gangs in the bush often killed refugees. You heard guns firing every night and the sound of munitions exploding in the camp. You didn’t know what would happen from one day to the next.”
In 1995, with the collaboration of two Australian students who came to visit the camp, he published an anthology of refugee writing. Tilting Cages was a collection of poems and stories from 28 refugee writers, including Tasew.
In 1997, he began working as a translator, interpreter and caseworker for the UNHCR’s International Organisation of Migration.
He spent eight years in Kenya before being resettled in New Zealand with his then wife in 1999.
In Wellington, he began writing poetry focusing on human rights, reflecting the lives of the displaced, specifically African refugees.
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