Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Early Life and Education of Tesfaye Gebreab

Tesfaye Gebreab (ተስፋዬ ገብረኣብ, 28 August 1968 – 24 December 2021) was an Ethiopian-born Eritrean writer and literary publisher. He was best known as a well-renowned Eritrean journalist and editor in the Ethiopian printed press. In Eritrea, however, amongst his fellow Eritrean citizens, he was mainly known for his books and his attachment to the Oromo ethnic group.

His book, “Ye burka zimita” was a book that narrated history of Oromo resistance history and future hopes. Because of his contributions to Oromo literature, he was given an honorary name ‘Gadaa’. Gebreab worked as a journalist before becoming a full time writer. He penned eight books, including historical novels, true stories, short stories, and memoirs. One of his later books, ‘Ye Nurebi Mahder’, ‘Nurenebi File’, a hundred year long story of Eritrea and Ethiopia, received wide scale recognition locally and regionally. Gebreab wrote in Amharic. Tesfaye (Gadaa) Gebreab is a well-known Eritrean-Ethiopian author, journalist, and political commentator. He is best known for his controversial and thought-provoking books, which have sparked debates and discussions among readers and critics alike. But before becoming a prominent figure in the literary world, Tesfaye had a humble beginning and a journey filled with challenges and triumphs.

Early Life and Education of Tesfaye Gebreab

Gebreab was born on 28 August 1968 in Ethiopia, in the town of Bishoftu. His parents were Eritreans who in the 1950s, migrated from Mendefera, Eritrea, to Ethiopia. Tesfaye served as the director of Ethiopia’s ministry of information. He was also the editor in chief of a local magazine. He authored numerous articles and books. After he became minister of Information, he relaxed censorship rules and made it possible for countless fellow authors and journalists to publish their works. He wrote all of his books in Amharic while a few of them were translated to Tigrinya and Afan Oromo.

At the age of 12, Tesfaye moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to continue his education. He attended the prestigious Haile Selassie I Secondary School, where he excelled academically and developed a passion for literature and history. It was during this time that he also became interested in politics and social issues, which would later shape his writing and career.

After completing high school, Tesfaye went on to study at Addis Ababa University, where he majored in history and political science. He was an active student and participated in various political and social movements on campus. It was also during this time that he started writing for the university’s newspaper, honing his skills as a journalist and writer.

In 1974, Tesfaye graduated from university and began his career as a journalist. He worked for various newspapers and magazines, covering a wide range of topics, from politics to culture. His writing style was bold and unapologetic, often challenging the status quo and shedding light on issues that were considered taboo in Ethiopian society.

In the late 1970s, Tesfaye joined the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), a rebel group fighting for Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia. He used his writing skills to document the struggles and sacrifices of the Eritrean people, which earned him recognition and respect within the organization. He also served as a spokesperson for the EPLF, using his platform to raise awareness about the Eritrean cause.

In 1981, Tesfaye published his first book, “Yederasiw Mastawesha,” which translates to “The Agony of the People.” The book was a collection of short stories that depicted the harsh realities of life under the Ethiopian regime. It was an instant success and received critical acclaim, establishing Tesfaye as a talented writer and storyteller.

Over the next few decades, Tesfaye continued to write and publish books, including “Yeburka Zimita,” “Nurenebi Filega,” and “Ye’Gebreabawi Hizb.” His books were often banned in Ethiopia, but they were widely read and discussed in the Eritrean community and among Ethiopian dissidents. Tesfaye’s writing was fearless and unapologetic, and he was not afraid to speak out against injustice and oppression.

Today, Tesfaye (Gadaa) Gebreab is considered one of the most influential and controversial writers in the Horn of Africa. His books have been translated into several languages, and he continues to be a voice for the voiceless and a champion for human rights. Despite facing criticism and backlash, Tesfaye remains committed to using his writing to bring about change and shed light on important issues.

In conclusion, Tesfaye’s early life and education played a significant role in shaping him into the writer and activist he is today. His passion for literature, history, and politics, combined with his determination and resilience, have made him a force to be reckoned with in the literary world. Tesfaye’s journey is a testament to the power of education and the impact one person can have in creating positive change.

Tesfaye Gebreab’s Career as a Writer and Journalist

Tesfaye Gebreab is a renowned Eritrean writer and journalist, known for his thought-provoking and controversial works. Gebreab’s journey to becoming a prominent figure in the literary world was not an easy one. However, his determination and passion for writing have led him to become one of the most influential voices in Eritrea and beyond.

Gebreab’s interest in writing began at a young age, as he was exposed to the rich oral tradition of storytelling in his village. He would often listen to his elders tell tales of bravery, love, and struggle, which sparked his imagination and ignited his love for storytelling. As he grew older, he started writing short stories and poems, which he would share with his friends and family.

After completing his high school education, Gebreab moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to pursue a degree in journalism. It was during this time that he became involved in the Eritrean independence movement, which was fighting for the liberation of Eritrea from Ethiopian rule. Gebreab’s involvement in the movement would later influence his writing, as he used his words to shed light on the struggles and injustices faced by his people.

In 1975, Gebreab joined the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and became a member of its central committee. He also served as the head of the EPLF’s Department of Information and Culture, where he was responsible for disseminating information about the liberation struggle to the Eritrean people and the international community. During this time, Gebreab continued to write, using his skills to document the stories of the Eritrean people and their fight for independence.

After Eritrea gained its independence in 1991, Gebreab continued to work as a journalist, writing for various Eritrean newspapers and magazines. However, his writing style and content were often met with criticism from the Eritrean government, which led to his eventual departure from the country in 2006. Gebreab then moved to the United States, where he currently resides and continues to write.

Gebreab’s writing career has been marked by controversy, as he is not afraid to speak out against the injustices and human rights violations in Eritrea. His books, including “The Curse of Being and Living It,” “The Hidden History of Eritrea,” and “The Making of a Pariah State,” have been banned in Eritrea, but have gained popularity among Eritreans in the diaspora. In these books, Gebreab delves into the political, social, and economic issues facing Eritrea, providing a critical analysis of the country’s government and its policies.

Despite facing backlash and criticism for his writing, Gebreab remains committed to using his words to bring attention to the struggles of his people. He believes that it is his duty as a writer and journalist to speak the truth and hold those in power accountable. In an interview, Gebreab stated, “As a writer, I have a responsibility to tell the stories of my people, even if it means facing consequences.”

In addition to his writing, Gebreab also hosts a weekly radio show, “Voice of Assenna,” where he discusses current events and issues in Eritrea. He also uses social media to connect with his readers and engage in discussions about his work and the state of Eritrea.

In conclusion, Tesfaye Gebreab’s career as a writer and journalist has been shaped by his passion for storytelling and his dedication to his people. Despite facing challenges and criticism, he continues to use his words to shed light on the struggles of Eritreans and to advocate for change. His works will undoubtedly continue to inspire and provoke thought for years to come.

Controversies Surrounding Tesfaye Gebreab’s Work

Tesfaye (Gadaa) Gebreab


Tesfaye (Gadaa) Gebreab is a well-known Eritrean-Ethiopian author, journalist, and political commentator. He is best known for his controversial book, “Yederasiw Mastawesha,” which translates to “The Curved Mirror.” The book, published in 2008, is a scathing critique of the Eritrean government and its leader, Isaias Afwerki. However, despite his popularity and influence, Gebreab’s work has been met with much controversy and criticism.

One of the main controversies surrounding Gebreab’s work is his credibility as a journalist and author. Many have questioned the accuracy and objectivity of his writing, especially when it comes to his views on the Eritrean government. Some argue that Gebreab’s personal biases and political affiliations have influenced his work, making it less reliable and more biased.

Gebreab’s critics also point out that he has never been a practicing journalist and has no formal training in the field. He started his career as a teacher and later became a member of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), the ruling party in Eritrea. He then worked as a diplomat for the Eritrean government before moving to the United States in the late 1990s. This lack of journalistic experience and training has led some to question his qualifications as a credible source of information.

Another controversy surrounding Gebreab’s work is the use of pseudonyms and anonymous sources. In “Yederasiw Mastawesha,” Gebreab uses pseudonyms for many of the sources he quotes, making it difficult to verify the information presented in the book. This has raised concerns about the authenticity of his claims and the credibility of his sources.

Furthermore, some have accused Gebreab of fabricating information and exaggerating facts to support his arguments. In his book, he makes several bold claims, such as accusing the Eritrean government of committing genocide and comparing Isaias Afwerki to Adolf Hitler. These claims have been met with skepticism and have been refuted by the Eritrean government and its supporters.

Gebreab’s critics also argue that his work lacks balance and objectivity. They claim that he only presents one side of the story and ignores any positive aspects of the Eritrean government. This has led to accusations of propaganda and biased reporting.

In addition to his writing, Gebreab’s public appearances and speeches have also sparked controversy. He has been invited to speak at various events and conferences, where he often shares his views on the Eritrean government and its policies. However, his speeches have been met with protests and disruptions from Eritrean government supporters, who accuse him of spreading false information and propaganda.

Despite the controversies surrounding his work, Gebreab has a large following and is seen as a hero by many Eritreans and Ethiopians. His book, “Yederasiw Mastawesha,” has been translated into several languages and has been widely read by the Eritrean diaspora. He is also a frequent guest on Ethiopian and Eritrean media outlets, where he continues to share his views and opinions.

In conclusion, Tesfaye (Gadaa) Gebreab’s work has been met with much controversy and criticism. While some see him as a brave and outspoken critic of the Eritrean government, others question his credibility and objectivity. The use of pseudonyms, lack of journalistic experience, and biased reporting have all contributed to the controversies surrounding his work. However, despite the backlash, Gebreab remains a prominent figure in the Eritrean and Ethiopian communities, and his work continues to spark important discussions and debates.

Impact of Tesfaye Gebreab’s Writings on Eritrean Society

Tesfaye Gebreab, also known as Gadaa, is a prominent Eritrean writer and journalist. His writings have had a significant impact on Eritrean society, both within the country and in the diaspora. Through his books and articles, Gebreab has shed light on the political and social issues facing Eritrea, sparking important discussions and debates among Eritreans.

One of the most notable impacts of Gebreab’s writings is the way he has brought attention to the human rights abuses and political repression in Eritrea. His book, “The Curse of Being and Living It,” is a powerful account of the atrocities committed by the Eritrean government. Through his detailed and harrowing descriptions, Gebreab has exposed the reality of life under the authoritarian regime in Eritrea.

This book, along with his other writings, has been a wake-up call for many Eritreans who were previously unaware of the extent of the human rights violations in their country. It has also served as a source of validation for those who have experienced or witnessed these abuses firsthand. Gebreab’s writings have given a voice to the voiceless and have brought international attention to the plight of Eritreans living under a repressive regime.

In addition to shedding light on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Gebreab’s writings have also sparked important discussions about the country’s history and identity. His book, “Eritrea: The Making of a Nation,” delves into the complex history of Eritrea and challenges the official narrative promoted by the government. Through his research and analysis, Gebreab has presented a more nuanced and critical perspective on Eritrea’s past, encouraging readers to question the dominant narrative.

This has been particularly impactful for Eritreans in the diaspora, who often have limited access to information about their country’s history. Gebreab’s writings have provided them with a deeper understanding of their roots and have sparked important conversations about Eritrean identity and nationalism.

Furthermore, Gebreab’s writings have also had a significant impact on the Eritrean youth. His books and articles have become popular among young Eritreans, who are hungry for information and eager to learn about their country’s past and present. Through his writing, Gebreab has inspired a new generation of Eritreans to think critically and to question the status quo.

Moreover, Gebreab’s writings have also played a crucial role in uniting the Eritrean diaspora. His books and articles have become a common ground for Eritreans from different backgrounds and political beliefs to come together and engage in meaningful discussions. This has been particularly important in a community that has been divided by political differences and government propaganda.

However, Gebreab’s impact has not been limited to the Eritrean community. His writings have also caught the attention of international media and human rights organizations. Through his work, Gebreab has been able to bring the human rights situation in Eritrea to the forefront of international attention. This has put pressure on the Eritrean government to address these issues and has also helped to raise awareness among the international community.

In conclusion, Tesfaye Gebreab’s writings have had a profound impact on Eritrean society. Through his books and articles, he has exposed the human rights abuses in Eritrea, challenged the official narrative, and inspired critical thinking among Eritreans. His work has also brought the Eritrean diaspora together and has raised international awareness about the situation in the country. Gebreab’s contributions to Eritrean literature and journalism will continue to shape the discourse on Eritrea for years to come.

Tesfaye Gebreab’s Views on Politics and Human Rights in Eritrea

Tesfaye Gebreab is a well-known Eritrean journalist, author, and political commentator. He is also a former member of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), the ruling party in Eritrea. Gebreab’s views on politics and human rights in Eritrea have sparked controversy and debate, as he is known for his critical stance towards the Eritrean government.

Gebreab’s journey as a political commentator began in the 1980s when he joined the EPLF as a young idealistic student. He was drawn to the party’s vision of a free and independent Eritrea, and he actively participated in the armed struggle against Ethiopia. However, as he became more involved in the party’s inner workings, he started to witness the corruption and human rights abuses within the EPLF.

In the early 2000s, Gebreab left Eritrea and sought asylum in the United States. He then began to write and speak openly about the political situation in Eritrea, which led to him being labeled as a traitor by the Eritrean government. Despite the backlash, Gebreab continued to use his platform to shed light on the human rights violations and lack of political freedom in his home country.

One of Gebreab’s most controversial views is his criticism of the Eritrean government’s mandatory national service program. The program, which was initially meant to last for 18 months, has been extended indefinitely, with many conscripts serving for over a decade. Gebreab argues that this program is a form of modern-day slavery, as conscripts are forced to work for little to no pay and are subjected to harsh living conditions.

Gebreab also highlights the lack of political freedom in Eritrea, where there is no independent media or opposition parties allowed. He believes that the ruling party has a tight grip on power and uses fear and intimidation to suppress any dissenting voices. This lack of political freedom has led to many Eritreans fleeing the country in search of a better life.

In addition to his criticism of the Eritrean government, Gebreab also speaks out against the international community’s lack of action towards the human rights situation in Eritrea. He believes that the world has turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Eritrean people, and that more needs to be done to hold the government accountable for its actions.

Despite the controversy surrounding his views, Gebreab’s work has gained a significant following, both within and outside of Eritrea. Many Eritreans see him as a voice for the voiceless and a source of hope for a better future. However, there are also those who view him as a traitor and accuse him of spreading false information about the country.

In recent years, Gebreab has shifted his focus towards promoting dialogue and reconciliation between the Eritrean government and opposition groups. He believes that the only way to bring about real change in Eritrea is through peaceful means and a united effort from all parties involved.

In conclusion, Tesfaye Gebreab’s views on politics and human rights in Eritrea have sparked much-needed discussions and debates about the current situation in the country. While some may disagree with his views, there is no denying that he has brought attention to the human rights abuses and lack of political freedom in Eritrea. As the country continues to face challenges, Gebreab’s voice will undoubtedly remain an important one in the ongoing struggle for a better Eritrea.

By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use caalaadd2@gmail.com as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of www.ethiopianstoday.com.

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