Maqdala at 150: An Academic-Cultural-Touristic Experiences kicked off it first leg of a seven day event. Many scholarly individuals from Ethiopia and abroad showed up to present numerous research findings and also to be spectators.
It should be mentioned that this event is not common nor is it a replica of any other commemoration. It is original and genuine in its aims of celebrating one of Ethiopia’s king of kings. Emperor Tewodros the second, as is known, is one of the most famous and industrious leaders this country has ever known.
Dr. Hirut Kassew, Head of the Amhara Regional State Culture and Tourism bureau, Dr. Simayno Keskes, Science and Technology minister and Academic and Research Institutions Director General, Mr. Tekeba Tebabal, Mayor of Gondar, Dr. Desalegn Mengesha, President of the University of Gondar, Prof. Biharu Zewde, well renowned author and intellectual, and various presidents and vice presidents of numerous universities witnessed the occasion.
It should be said that the late king often times was forgotten by mainstream media. With the passing of every regime in the country, starting from the latest, the previous ones were slowly but surely fading away into unimportance. With that being said though, the University of Gondar, in association with various official organizers did its part to keep this larger than life figure alive.
“Maqdala at 150: An Academic-Cultural-Touristic Experience is the culmination of years of preparation, which have involved the work of numerous individuals, institutions and governing bodies” said the president. The Department of History and Heritage Management at the University Gondar with the College of Social Sciences and the Humanities worked tirelessly to bring the day into fruition. Ten Amhara universities and the Amhara region Culture and Tourism Bureau also did its fair share by being official organizers.
A presentation on Captain Speedy and Dejazmach Alemayo by Kerry Girdwood stirred up the crowed and showed a different side of the Ethiopian prince. The English born Kerry had rare access to classified information that others could not obtain. Many believe that his life was confined to house arrest, but it could be seen in her power point presentation that he had a normal life and even went to an English private school. Through her pictures a vivid portrayal of the Emperor’s son showed a different narrative of his story.
Various other works on Emperor Tewodros were presented ranging from modernity, banditry, personality, heroism and his identity. Well received and well liked were all of the presentations.
The king’s work and vision has been immortalized in the many hearts, which have been touched by his larger than life persona. In essence, it’s fair to question whether there would be a united Ethiopia if Tewodros hadn’t come.
The 7 day voyage into his life will allow participants to encounter touristic sites and experience cultural entertainment.
King Tewodros is truly an important figure for Ethiopians everywhere and this event, which has been planned for some time now, is clear proof that Ethiopians do not forget their great leaders.
By Samuel Malede| Public & International Relations Directorate