In the midst of the political tension in Ethiopia, one man is hoping to turn around the situation through what he loves doing best. Singing.
Teddy Afro, a top Ethiopian artiste wants to heal the country with his mic. This is despite having previously had run-ins with the government leading to the banning of his tracks in 2005, four years after his career took off.
In an interview with the BBC’s Amharic service, Teddy who is based in the United States said he aimed at using his music to turn around the tensed political atmosphere. His latest track titled ‘Ethiopia’ is sung in Amharic – the dominant language of the East African giant.
Rather than misunderstanding each other, let's communicate, instead of conflict, let's love one another and long for peace instead of holding a grudge, let's forgive one another.
‘‘… for us to come out of the situation we are in, I believe the only choice is love. I’m sad with what has been happening recently, I’m hoping that our elders will continue to collaborate and find a solution that will leave the country better off for the next generation.
‘‘Rather than misunderstanding each other, let’s communicate, instead of conflict, let’s love one another and long for peace instead of holding a grudge, let’s forgive one another,’‘ he added.
The 6 minutes 37 seconds track recently helped him top the Billboard World Albums chart, a feat the musician celebrated on his Facebook page. He told the BBC that the current track has exceeded his expectations. It is said to have sold over 500,000 copies since release.
‘‘It gives me great joy, there hasn’t been an album that has been this well received to my knowledge. All of my music is based on love, like Martin Luther King said, hate is defeated with love, darkness with light.”
The new single ‘Ethiopia’ was published on video sharing website Youtube on April 14, 2017 between then and now, it has been viewed over 5.2 million times. The track marked Teddy’s global breakthrough and his fifth album since he started off 16 years back.
Ethiopia’s political problems have been at the heart of spreading anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions of the country. The protests have been met by heavy security clampdown leading to deaths.
A six months state of emergency was imposed in October 2016 to help quell the protests, it was extended upon its expiration in April this year for a further three months.
Thousands of people were detained during the protests and a recent government report said over 660 people were killed. Addis Ababa has repeatedly refused to accept independent probe as demanded by the United Nations and the European Union.
But the call for reforms continue to pour in. The government has released 1000s of those arrested whiles others are awaiting trial for disrupting the peace.