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Intense Restuarant Competition in Addis Ababa

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Restaurant Competition Gets Very Interesting in Addis Ababa

Some offer “full, customized service” to clients

By WT, CHEWATA’s Reporter in Addis Ababa
© Copyright Ethiopis.com and CHEWATA January 2010

Restaurnats in Addis Ababa have reportedly begun offering their clients some very new and amazing deals in their efforts to beat their competitors. Audgna Grum, chairman of AER, (Association of Ethiopian Restaurants), told CHEWATA, “I have never seen a display of such creative ways for our restaurants to tell customers why they should eat at their place instead of the next guy’s restaurant.” CHEWATA’s reporters witnessed one restaurant which was offering customers to wash their hands before meal, offer them cell phones to call friends to come over, have the customers take off their shoes while their meal is being prepared, and even have their feet socks washed and ready to go by the time they are ready to pay. The restuarant, Aand Gursha Beki Restaurant, had a poster displayed at their glass window facing Chirchill Road, which was entitled “We treat you just like your mother did!” A furious owner of a competitor restaurant right across the street, Ato Bulcha Wodajeneh, reportedly had a sign made and displayed infront of his door which read, “We not only wash our customers’ hands and feet before meal…we give full bath for full or part of our customer’s body before or after meal depending on customer’s request.” Seble Teferi, a long time watcher of the restaurant business in Addis Ababa told CHEWATA that some of the competition was “turning ugly”, with some restaurants disparaging the cooking of their competitors in order to steal customers from the other restaurants. “One restaurant in Addis Ababa had a sign displayed which read, ‘If you want want Ej Yemiaskoretim food, come on in. If you want to visit the doctor tomorrow for indigestion and other extra activities in your stomach, please go to Mergia’s restaurant next door.’. They even had an arrow pointing to the door of the restaurant that they were talking ill of. ” Mrs. Seble said, she expected this new intense competition for business among restaurants to intensify until such time that the government comes up with tough rules that set the boundaries of claims in advertisements.

According to the Addis Ababa Bureau of Food and Drink Traders (AABFDT), there have been 380 court cases which involved claims of abuse by one restaurant owner against another. One famous case which was thrown out of court for “lack of merit”, involved a small restaurant owner who had claimed that his competitor who owned a bigger restaurant next door has unfairly “bribed all my kitchen employees to quit en masse and had them on the job in his kitchen within days leaving our restaurant with a silent kitchen.” Court documents show that the small restaurant owner had to close his business because all his cooks had switched sided and were now working for the competition. The accuser had told the Court, “I and my wife plus a bunch of kitchen ware was what was left after the big exodus my competitor forced on me.” Some restaurants are also offering “Gurshas from beginning to end” for customers who might choose to work on their laptops while a restaurant specialist feeds them with various sizes of gurshas. “The customer decides the size of the gurshas they want,” one flier in one of the restaurants explains. Many restaurants have picked up on the popularity of Gurshas on Demand and the restaurant schools in Addis Ababa are reportedly churning out graduates who eventually become Gursha Specialists of various qualities. One restaurant which is a bit pricy compared to most others, offers to “Have our customers received at the door with hugs and kisses to the and shown on a big TV screen live shots of the smiling kitchen cooks preparing the customers’ food while he or she is massaged.” One unhappy customer who just left this restaurant told CHEWATA, “BeTV yayahuachew kekayoch yasferalu. Gin Cinema Ethiopia gebto yeHind film kemayet EneBirken mayet yishalal. I had a blast in this restaurant.”

Mrs. Seble says her favorite restaurant slogan is the one she saw near Arat Kilo. It said, “Emaye is cooking. Come on in!!”


Walt Whitman in Awassa?

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Poet Gets Criticized for Unconventional Writing Style;

Says Critics are Jealous and Will Take Act on The Road

© Copyright Ethiopis.com and CHEWATA, January 2010

By WT, CHEWATA’s Reporter in Awassa

A 28 year old, self-proclaimed “Poet, a.k.a. Getim Getami”, in Awassa, Southern Ethiopia, is coming under fire from critics who say that his ‘so called poems are nothing but terrible abuse of the Ethiopian language’. Poet Tsega Melku is a street poet who stands in the streets of Awassa and reads his poems to interested strangers who encourage and give him money to keep his poetic work. Although most of the people CHEWATA interviewed in Awassa seem to admire his efforts, if not his talents, some critics are just beaming with outrage with his style of poems. Poet Tsega Melku’s poems seem to have styles of their own and in most cases, do not rhyme at all, as traditional Ethiopian poems do. Poet Tsega answered that particular criticism with an explanation: “My poems are unique and they don’t have to rhyme. People love it and I love it. I will be touring Europe and America soon and my jealous critics here in Awassa will soon realize that I am a great poet, ” he told CHEWATA’s reporter. As a sample of his many poems, Poet Tsega read to CHEWTA one of his very popular love poems and it went as follows:

Anchi Wodiya Mado, Ene Wodih Mado

Debdabe Tsafilegn BeEj Yemisetegn

Ene Ewodeshalehu, Anchin New Magebaw!”

“My own style of Getim is unique”.  -Poet Tsega

One of Poet Tsega’s harshest critics, Tsedey magazine’s columnist Tefera Alemu said, “This guy should be arrested immediately for raping and abusing our beautiful language. Look at his so called love poems. They don’t rhyme. They don’t flow. When he reads his so called poems, he sounds like a man who just left a Tej Bet!“. Ato Teferra showed a letter he received from Poet Tsega after one of his critical columns about the poet’s work. This letter was written in the form of a poem and it read as follows:

Menabak Honeh New Kenat Yakateleh

Getimoche Arif Nachew, Errir Debin Bel

Bekerbu America Heje Moja Sehon

Chama Elekalehugn, LeShefafa Egreh!

—-Yours Poet Tsega

“This is the kind of “poet” we are dealing with. Shenkora Meshet Embi silew new getim memoker yejemerew. Just like the Shenkora business, he will again be out of business in the Getim business too,” added Ato Tefera. Poet Tsega says that critics like Ato Tefera are overreacting and all he is trying to do is to be a habesha version of Walt Whitman, the famous American poet whose poems never rhymed nor made sense to anyone except literature weirdos. “While my critics are boiling in jealousy, I will be rich and famous like Walt Whitman, my hero. Just watch me,” he said smiling. CHEWATA talked to two people in Awassa who just bought a copy of the first published collection of poems by Poet Tsega, entitled, “Arif Gitmoch“, and both seemed to be amused and excited about their new book. “We like new ideas and this poet is trying to expand our literature by coming up with such messed up Getims and we love it,” said Amsarech Melaku with a smile. On page 45 of Poet Tsega’s book, there is a short poem which Asmarech said was her favorite. It read like this:

Woy DV alderesegn, Woy Kenya Algebahu

Anchima America Lela Bal Agebash

Enegenagn Bicha, Lela Menim Alel

Anchina Balishen Bedula Ketkeche

Gehanem Balekachehu, Tsega Set New Beyign“.

“I really like the way he stretches the verses and the unique ideas in them and the thoughts in them are really deep, ” added a very excited Amarech. “I think I am going to start a fan club for him here in Awassa”.

A famous Ethiopian poet who has published several Amharic books, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that all he has is “one word” to describe Poet Tsega’s work so far: “Arr!

“You know…KaKa”, he added.


Ethiopain Movies and Their “Englizegna Birku”Makers

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Ethiopians are making lots of movies these days in Ethiopia, targeted for Ethiopian audiences.  The dialogues are in Amharic, the actors are Ethiopians, and the stories are mostly Ethiopia-based.  So why is it necessary for the movie credits or descriptions of the movies be written in English, which most Ethiopians won’t understand anyway?  It looks like these days, most movie makers think their Ethiopian movie will be more “hip” if its announcement posters or rolling descriptions on the movie itself were written in English, rather than in the Ethiopian language that the movie viewers in Ethiopia understand.   It even seems like the movie makers have word for word copied the styles of Hollywood in advertising their movies.   The catch phrases of “a Kebede Dinku film”, “Director Alemu Bishaw”, “Produced by” are used widely in English in movie announcements, as if equivalent words of Amharic are not available for it. It seems as if Ethiopian movie makers Englizegna berk yehonebachew” !. My humble suggestion to them is to stop over using English words unnecessarily as if to show off their English language knowledge, and use the Ethiopian language for their Ethiopian audiences.  What is the point of using English for audiences whose primary language is Amharic and the movie’s dialogue is also in Amharic?  Subtitles in English are understandable, but throwing English words around in the middle of an Ethiopian movie, made in an Ethiopian language, directed at Ethiopian audiences seems very amateurish, at best.  Are Ethiopian movie makers trying to impress tourists in Ethiopia by throwing around English words on their movie posters?  If the role of the Ethiopian movies is to enrich Ethiopian culture and reach Ethiopian audiences, then the dialogue and all the writings should be in Ethiopian language.  Hollywood has more than adequately used English in its countless movies, thank you very much.   I have seen many Ethiopian movies who use unnecessary English words even when there are perfectly good Amharic equivalent words.  Even famous Ethiopians seem to easily mix English words when being interviewed by Ethiopian media people preparing programs for Ethiopians.  Why the need to use English when the Amharic equivalent words are available?
Examples of English words used (written using Ethiopian fonts, no less)
“Move producer” — Film azegaj

“Directed by Abebe” — Film Akenabari Abebe
“A film by Debebe” —  Film wana azegaj Debebe

Ethiopian movie makers  unintentionally seem to work hard to make English words a permanent substitute for Ethiopian words.  Please be proud of your own language and stop pandering to a non-existent English audience for your Ethiopian movies.  Ethiopia is not India and English is NOT a second language for Ethiopians. Stop imitating other people’s culture and language when you can enrich and expand the Ethiopian language.


Ethiopian Sayings

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So Sayz Ethiopian….Popular and Humorous Ethiopian Sayings (Updated as often as necessary)





Contributed by: Mamusha Z.

Fikir sitena kolo yagorarisal (Beand Gurguwad Inira )
Kezelalm fes yeand ken kizen (Kezelam Barinet Yeand ken Nesanet)
Bedenbara bekilo kachil tenteltilo (Inkuwanim zenbobich Indiyawm Teza nesh)
Alenga iskigezu bekirn yitekizu ( Isktageba mistike weazgim wekim begeredike)

Contributed by:
Petros D.W.

set lij yelakechiw wend, mot ayferam.

— kifetew zigaw kzigaw@onebox.com – email (707) 583-2064 x1105 – voicemail/fax

yembelaw sata lej terse awata
deha bhelmu kebe yewutale
yeks mist awkesh awkesh belat mesehafun atebch
leba lamelu dabo yelesal
yeketafi emba bakela bakela yakelal
seiyaut yalamare seibelut yakeral

Contributed by:Banchiamlak (Maryland)banchu@hotmail.com

Shiro kemeblat siga meshekem!
Asir birr kemizerezir nefsie yizerzer! ale Guragie.

(Contributed by Fekadu.)

Diha sikota menged yafetnewal
Guadegnah mar bihon liseh atcherisew
Meblatwan satawik ejuan taTebech
Yeraswa iyarerebat Yesew tamaslalech

(Contributed by Sam: samuel_woldekiros@yahoo.com)

Mot Yamarat Ayet Yedemet Afencha Tashetalech
YeChekole Afeso Lekeme
Yene Tolo Tolo Bet, Gedgidaw Sembelet!
Yedelaw Muk Yagnikal
Telba binchacha band Mukecha
Aya Jibo, Satamekagn belagn
YeMogn Lekso, Melso MelasSo!
YeLeba Ayne Derek, Melso Leb Awulk

siteYe’kotoun awerdalehou bela ye’bebetoin talech

Agorsalehou be’ye ejen tenekeskou

Ye’mayategeb injera kemetadou yastawoukal

Wedko meferaguet le’melalate

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