Celebrating the Life and Literary Legend of Gash Abera Lemma

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By Eyob Asfaw Gemechu

On 28 February 2021 HoHe awards showcased a webinar on the life and success of Gash Abera Lemma . The event was hosted through Gash Abera’s physical presence, the moderation of Yezina Worku and discussants of Associate Professor Zerihun Asfaw & Yeshaw Tesema. Down the line of the event his young compatriots cherished him ‘Gash’. Indeed it was one of the rare event in which HoHe awards engages in such a prestigious moment to celebrate success of an accomplished author in his presence before passing to eternal rest. To his credit, he himself often never mention other legendary authors such as Bealu Girma and Tsegaye Gembremedhin without referring them ‘ Gash’ to show reverence for sincere seniority .
His integrity and heart and hope on the youth is indisputable which many mature authors lacks it. Born in 1943 e.c in Fitche district and attending Kotebe teachers college, AAU and his career as a journalist chartered his contours of life and determined his eventual track record in literary works. Authorship, journalism, coordination, leadership of writers association has penned his life. At the moment, Abera is the sole member of Norwegian Authors association who yet engages to author in his vernacular language. Once he was also credited as a ‘priest of War zone’ cognizant of he wrote extensively on the war undertaken in the Northern era during the Dergue regime. The moderator-Yezina Worku applauded his recent award of certificate by Ethiopian Television for lifelong service within the sector of journalism.
Upon his commentary, Associate Professor Zerihun Asfaw remembers Abera’s intellectual humility back in his school days before some forty years. By then, Zerihun reminisces as Abera was an emerging author after publishing ‘Hiwot ena Mot’ ( to mean ‘Life and Death’). Zerihun remembers how it was tempting to teach an author. Perhaps, reportedly what Zerihun faced Abera’s throughout class undertakings totally negates his earlier timid about the perceived threat of Abera’s popularity. Indeed, Gash Abera produced several lifetime literary products which included ‘Shebet (1974 E.C.)’to mean ‘Grey hair’, ‘Mogedegnaw Newte (1976)’ to mean ‘The violent Newte’, ‘Yemaleda Sink’ (1980 e.c) to mean ‘morning breakfast’, and others.
His initial work with the genre of novella has reincarnated what was ceased for the moment after ‘Fikre Tolossa’s’, ‘Paulos Gnono’ and others. In its feature, he technically used hybrid forms of narration, both explanatory and plain narrative. In his characterization, Abera representatively characterizes both urban and rural folks through demonstrating for readers through making humour on how the later faces urban life. Interestingly, the characters also face strong agony of life. Notwithstanding with the character’s inability to cope with the urban life struggle the
In his turn, Yeshaw Tesema on the event shared his commentary to the audiences as he himself often used the poems in his class for literature students. In Yeshaw’s assessment, much of Abera’s poetry resembles more personification other than allegory. Perhaps, ‘Fendishaw’ to mean ‘Popecorn’ is one of the exceptions. In their resemblance, according to Yeshaw, much of the Gash Abera’s poems relents to lamentations other than humor.
Later on the proceedings of the webinar Abera, On his part, shared the rare impression which inspired how some of his literary works made to life. In one instance he recounts the personal encounter and inspiratory event which led him to author the poem named ‘Ferhat ( to mean ‘fear’). The poem was an epic poem with 20 lines of stanzas found on walls of every household. Originally, he commemorated an escaped armed soldier and personified social fear. By then he recorded the rampant popular uncertainty of the conflict affected Ethiopia. He asked the troop and the troop replied what justifies his retreat from his lost battle to his homeland. Within that day of impression, he gaze the poster picture in his office which eventually midwifed the poem ‘Ferhat’. Lastly, he shared his tale as how he audaciously done to publishing the poem- ‘Ferhat’ in the face of fierce threat of censorship.
In sum, Gash Abera proved to led his uninterrupted career in literature neither fiercely challenged by his engagement in journalism nor tempted by living in exile. His personality examined closest friends to prove his heart to share his experience and solicit debate on his works. For sure, the literary family wishes from heart long life for Gash Abera. Days are affront to harness Abera’s talent, productions and insights extensively. Good week!