Real Life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

by Zelalem

Meti Shewaye Yilma is a self-appointed ambassador of Ethiopia, a media and communications professional, a traveler, and a mother.  She is also the President Elect of the Association of Women in Boldness (AWB).  Yilma has a TV show titled Let’s Go with Meti, which provides tips and tricks on how to travel like a local and create globally conscious travelers.

“What I mean by globally conscious travelling is, unless we travel or read or meet people from other places, then we are very closed off and our consciousness level towards other cultures, towards other ideologies, and other societies is very shallow. So, what I’m trying to do is not take them where tourists are going, or what they would find on tourist sites or the usual tourist books.  What I am trying to show them is how the locals live or what the locals do, or what that place incorporates, just more than the pictures and the posters,” Yilma said.

As a strong Pan-Africanist, Yilma has declared her strong beliefs towards the growth and development of the country.  “One thing I love about Ethiopia is we are very grounded people, we know who we are; we not only know who we are, but we really respect where we come from, and we respect what is being given to us, what is being passed onto us, by our elders and our ancestors,” she said.

Notwithstanding the badly reflective light that may come against Ethiopia every once and again, Yilma feels a strong of responsibility towards the preservation of Ethiopia’s historical relevance into everyday life in order to chart for a better future.

“Because when it comes to history, so many Africans look up to us and that – we shouldn’t take it lightly.  We have the AU here that we shouldn’t take lightly.  We also have this responsibility as Africans to bring us together to be part of the key players in keeping Africa and bringing Africa as united,” she declared.  Yilma explained how the concept of national responsibility was coined to her after her visits to a few African countries, “Because the moment I tell them I am from Ethiopia, they say ‘Whoa! We know this and this about Ethiopia… We know the Battle of Adwa, you kicked the Italians out!  And the flags’, they go on.  But, when you see over twenty African flags, based on the green, yellow, and  red, that is the Ethiopian flag, because they were looking up to the independence of Ethiopia, and they took those colours as inspiration to make their flags,” Yilma detailed.

Inspiration, although drawn, can only be depicted in different ways relative to how expressive people are. And, as the flags were formed is also how cultures and beliefs come to form.  To the detriment of this beautiful enlightenment, there can come some traumatic realities as inspiration can brew conflict, which, as history has shown, can give way to wars and genocides and extinctions.

Ethiopia is borne to over eighty ethnolinguistic people living together as one nation.  Due to the heterogeneous nature of the people, there have been outlooks of separateness and conflict amongst the people, political dominion through ethnicity and oppression of minority cultures.

“I am a product of a collection of cultures; I don’t belong to any specific culture. When it comes to religion, when it comes to tribal background, when it comes to socio economic class, I am a product of so many mixtures; I do not want to be levelled as just one or two,” said Yilma, explaining that people in Ethiopia are mixed, and this becomes more prevalent when you go to the city in Addis Ababa. “We have to understand that we all are different.  Individually, communally, nationally, continentally, we are all different, and we must accept that.  I accept that. I understand that and I embrace it,” she prescribed.

At the reach of the ladder where engagements are had and inspirations are sought, there are the ordinary people who strive to live together regardless of the laws provisioned for them.  Yilma relies on these people to bring about unity on the continent. “Yes, there are politicians to do the macro work; the economy, the politics, but I believe integration and unity would come on a grassroots level between all individual nations to have the United States of Africa that we all aspire to have, or most of us,” Yilma stated.

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