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HomeEthiopian VideoKotebe : Tiztachin Be EBS recaptures memories from the neighborhood

Kotebe : Tiztachin Be EBS recaptures memories from the neighborhood


“Tiztachin Be EBS ” talk show host, Yonas Kebede, recaptures memories from Kotebe – a neighbourhood in the Northern Addis Ababa.

Two popular educational institutions are integral parts of the neighborhood. Kotebe College, now named as Kotebe Metropolitan University and Wondirad Senior Secondary school.

Watch his production. What is your memory of it? Share it in the comment area.


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  1. It is amazing how places change so drastically that one can be lost if returning just after a few year of absence. If my recollection serves me right and if we are talking about the same site it was HSI High School first founded as a school for sons of freedom fighters during the Italian occupation and those born to notable chieftains. That was where famous high position officials such Germame Neway, Ketema Yifru and many others received their education thru high school before they were sent overseas to many universities and colleges. Its curriculum was of the highest standard that it was known to have the highest rate of passing the dreaded ESLCE just like Wingate and Teferi Mekonen. Then in 1968 it was converted into a teachers training center as HSI Teachers Training Institute where future elementary school teachers were educated in the trade. I was one of the first to graduate from the institute in 1961 Eth. calendar(1969 Gregorian). We were at a building near the Technical School(Tegbare-ed) during my first year at the institute and we moved to the Kotebe location for my 2nd and last year of training. That area in Kotebe was wooded area and can say we were the only residents there. It did not offer boarding there but we were given $25.00/month to cover our living expenses for rent, clothing and food. I used to live in a rental small house with my three school mates. Some students had relatives in the capital and those were the ones you could see with the latest fashion. But it was sufficient enough for us to live a normal frugal life. I had the chance to make friends there that came from many provinces just like me and some of those friendships have lasted with me for decades. I was assigned to go to a southern province where a lottery used to be drawn to decide your final destination. My lot came out as one of the remotest locations in that province where it was a new school and I was the only teacher. It took me almost three days to arrive at the village and I was welcomed as a highest government official. There were no restaurants or shops. I was schooled by the district’s governor how to plan essentials on monthly basis. The governor was kind enough to provide everything I need for the first two months. What a breathtaking landscape. It was somewhat shaky for me to get accustomed to first but soon I got used to it. Once a month I used to go to the next regional capital to get all the monthly essentials like salt, oil, flour and condiments. The trip used to take more than 5 hours on a mule. I taught there for two years and was transferred to one of large towns close to the provincial capital. During my fourth year of teaching I took the dreaded ESLC exam and passed in flying colors and off to college. I can say it was HSI Teachers Training Institute at Kotebe that made me who I am today. It gave me the foundation and the culture of hard work. If anyone of you readers of this comment are one of those who graduated from Kotebe HSI in 1969 drop me a few lines. May be you can share some of your fond memories too.

  2. Thanks for the insightful reflection. I studied at Kotebe College around 1996. It is one of the times that I fondly remember. The community around the college was very good too. A little disturbing to see it like that.

  3. I hope there will be more research piece like this. There are a lot of places of historical importance that need to be told like this so they can be readily available as reference for future generations. During my two year at that institute there were trainees that were recruited from every province where there were high schools. We were recruited after we finished the 10th grade and you must be among the top ten academically in your class to qualify. At that time teaching was not a sought after profession because there were other opportunities but I somehow chose to go that route. There were students from Eritrea in droves. There were from Gojjam, Gondar, Keffa, Gomu Gofa Tigray, Harar, Bale and other provinces. That was where I met students from other ethnic groups and some of them for the first time. It was one of the ministers in the Haile Selassie Government who awarded us the diploma at the graduation ceremony. It was a close knit community of students and I remember tears were flowing saying goodbye to each other. The quality of education was very good. I had a plan from the first day of graduation that I will complete the required two years of service and would be off to college. I remember there were two types of exams at ESLCE when it comes to math, Math A and B. I wanted to pursue engineering or medicine and that time you have to pass Math B to qualify which was hardcore math. It was all essay type of questions. There were no multiple chose of true or false questions except in English. Amharic exam was the most feared one even for those like whose mother tongue was all Amharic and most would fail it. That was my lowest score with a C. I passed the rest and enrolled in the life stream section at the university. But after less than a year classes were closed due to disturbances and I was lost with no place to stay. There was a university student who was from Eritrea that I had befriended when I was going to the Kotebe TTI. He must have been from a well to do family that he was able to come here USA on a student visa a year before. He sent me I-20 from a local college and my family with relatives pitched in to send me here. The rest is history. Those were the good old days. I still have my teacher’s diploma I was awarded at the graduation. Among all advanced degrees I have I still treasure that because that was what it gave me the foundation. That was more than 54 years ago. Many of those schoolmates who I managed to keep in touch for quite some time are already in heaven now. I am widowed now but blessed with children, grandchildren and recently great-grandchildren. Now I don’t have to look out for lions, leopards and pythons of that remote village but I have to mask up to keep myself safe from Covid. I see it as a blessed life to be thankful for. Like we say these days: Stay safe.


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