Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Addis Ababa: Ethiopian family creates woodland oasis

Ras Janny and Empress Jerusalem in their woodland oasis, Addis Ababa.   -  
Copyright © africanews


In the heart of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, a green oasis of thousands of trees is hidden from view.

This woodland is tended by a reggae musician, Yohaness Wubeshet, who goes by his stage name Ras Janny and his young family, his wife Jerusalem Hafteseged, who goes by Empress Jerusalem, and their children Azariah, age 7, Adriel, age 4, Azmon, age 2 and baby Angel who is just six months old.

At a time of worsening extreme weather due to climate change, the Ethiopian couple hope to inspire others to protect nature through their actions and music. 

2,000 trees and counting

They began the project 16 years ago when Empress Jerusalem's father, Hafteseged Mengesha, turned a 5,000 square metre (54,000 square foot) plot of land into a plantation, planting 2,000 trees.

Now, with their young children in tow, the couple continue to tend to the trees and plant new saplings. 

"Everywhere we go, everywhere we play our music, we tell the people about this thing, about environmental protection and planting trees," says Ras Janny. "We have even prepared music to create more awareness about how trees are important for human beings and the planet."

Urban greenery

Plant science specialist Isak Dekebo works with local authorities to make urban spaces greener. He says that trees can help improve the city's environment by lowering temperatures and improving soil and water.

"I never expected to encounter such a location in Addis Ababa. It's as if I've been transported to a completely different place," says Dekebo. "The presence of greenery significantly regulates the temperature, and even a short distance of one to 10 meters away from this spot highlights the noticeable contrast. The air quality inside and outside here is distinctly different."

With the COP28 climate talks underway in Dubai, the woodland project serves as a reminder of the power of community action. 

View more