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Dejazmatch Zewde GebreSelassie passed away

By Addis Journal

Prominent nobleman, historian and former deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia Dejazmatch Zewde GebreSelassie has died at the age of 80.

Born to a royal family, Dejazmatch Zewde has a had a varied and distinctive career as governor of Shere, Minister of justice, Mayor of Addis Ababa and Ambassador to Somalia, and deputy Prime Minster and Foreign Minister.

A great-great grandson of the Emperor Yohannes IV and related thorough marriage to the Crown Prince, Dejazmatch Zewde is widely recognized among Ethiopians as possessing an unparalleled knowledge of Ethiopian history and of the past and present day Ethiopian personalities, their relationships, intrigues, foibles and strengths. As John H.Spencer wrote in his book, Ethiopia At Bay that through his official positions and relationships with the leading figures in political life, he has been a witness to some of the important events recounted in his book.

He was too independent minded to get on as minister and his attempt to reform the judicial system were thwarted. He fell into disfavor with HaileSelassie due to his liberalism as Minister of Justice during the trial of General Mengistu Neway and went into self-imposed exile. He later served as Minster of Foreign Affairs under the provisional military government, but soon resigned in protest against the massacres of the former regime officials in November, 1974.

He was the author and editor of many history books. “Yohannes IV of Ethiopia: A political biography, Oxford” is one of the most cited works.

In the preface, Edward Ullendorff wrote that he has devoted to his royal ancestor, his great-great grandfather, a treatise that is fair and dispassionate, yet for the first time recognizes Yohannes’ crucial role in the re-unification of Ethiopian.

21 thoughts on “Dejazmatch Zewde GebreSelassie passed away

  1. Nebs Yimar!!!!!!!!!
    This is a sad day in Ethiopia! The great grandson of one of Ethiopia’s greatest Emperor, Atse Yohannes IV, has went to our Lord in heaven to join the greats like Atse Tewodros, Atse Yohannes , Belai Zeleke and Ras Alula Aba Nega.

    Dejazmatch Zewde GebreSelassie may your legacy of One Ethiopia as your great grandfather continue.


  2. I am very saddened to learn that His Highness Dejazmach Dr. Zewde Gebre Sellasie passed away. His death is not the death of an individual. Rather, mother Ethiopia has once again lost a true Ethiopian who always lectured and worked hard to see a unified Ethiopian. May His Almighty rest his soul in peace.

  3. Elias, I should admit you have done an honorable thing to report the death of Dej. Zewde. He has been a prominent figure in Ethiopian politics, and worked for united Ethiopia.

  4. ደጅአዝማች ዘውዴ ገብረስላሴ የኢትዮጵያ ታሪክ ተማራማሪ ለኢትዮጵያ አንድነት አስተዋጽኦ ያደረጉ ኢትዮጵያዊ ናቸው:: ነፍሳቸው ይማር::

  5. A sad day and a great loss for Ethiopia. He never retreated from doing his best for his country whatever his personal circumstances ! but our unfortunate leaders were not even willing to return his own house to him! Befitting to his life he passed away peacefully. May God rest his Soul

  6. “ Oh how the mighty have fallen, “ lamented King David at the hearing of the death of the King Saul and his son Jonathan. So also, today great men around the World lament at the hearing of a passing of a great man, the Honorable Dr. Dejazmach Zewede Gebre Sillasie. His greatness was not only because of his Royal birth or his intellectual accomplishment, but also because of his noble character and faith in our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ, as manifested through his spirituality.

    From mid Seventies through the nineties, when the fascist Derg was over thrown, Dr. Dejazmach Zewde was comfort and cover for every refugee of Ethiopian origin. His great memories and contribution, perhaps to the kingdom of God as well as Ethiopian nation, was when in the 80’s, he and his wonderful wife with their kind and gentle late son and their two wonderful daughters opened their house every Friday evening to Ethiopian refugees in New York City and vicinity, to pray and study the Bible and comfort each other. Gathering us all, much like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. It was that effort that lead to the opening of Ethiopian Evangelical Church in NYC, the second ever Ethiopian Evangelical Church in the United States.

    Even though Dr. Dejazmach Zewde Gebre Sillasie was from prominent Ethiopian Royal household with a terminal degree from Oxford University, he never despised any of those considered of lower social standing, in the natural. He is a great lose for the cause of the Gospel, for Ethiopia as a nation and Africa as a whole. He was a true light like His Great Master, who has now welcomed him to Abraham’s bosom. May the Lord God comfort his immediate family and all those who have been touched by the care and unconditional love of this great man.

    My dear Dejazmach, good-bye till we meet again at Jesus feet.

    Pastor G.Paulos

  7. It is indeed a very sad day for Ethiopia and Ethiopians to have lost such a giant of a man. It seems that Ethiopia is now dominated by people of seeming the citizen of her, bent on destruction and exploiting the country and it is people for their selfish reasons……Oh well, let is soul rest in peace, for he has done his best for his country either in deeds or his writings………..he was an example of a man and citizen of Ethiopia, which these generation of Ethiopia must learn, regardless of our “ZERE”, which has dominated now.

  8. I had the honor to meet Dr. Dejazmach Zewde Gebre Sellasie in 1989. He was eye open for me about Ethiopian history. The few days I spent with him I have grown to respect his personality and intellect. Most of All he was casual about serious issues. He has true respect for everyone and was very gracious. He is someone you call “Chewa” in a true sense. His work for his country speaks for itself. God rest his soul. He will be greatly missed.

  9. Indeed another important day for Ethiopians. Dejazmatch Zewde was an institution and a symbol of Ethiopian identity. I knew Dejazmatch Zewde from a distance and from my childhood. I used to be a member of a sport club, called KIBED. The club used to be active in early 1970s, and played at Ras Seyoum Media, near the French embassy in Addis Ababa. Dejazmatch Zewde was the honourary chairman of the club. Kibed was the horse name of the reknown patriot Dejazmatch Gebre Selassie, the father of Dejazmatch Zewde.

    Dejach Zewde has had a distinguished career. We should celebrate and honour his life, a life that was worth living, and sing the songs of unity, saying Zewde, Zewde, the great Ethiopian! We should ask who is his replacment?

    Today’s rulers of Ethiopia are not in his league; they are not only separatists and racists but hopeless dumps and pumpkins. Since they are the sons and grandsons of merceneries of the Italo-Ethiopian wars (hence we call them banda dejazmatches) they never respected Zewde. The son of a true partiot, Zewde remained loyal to Ethiopian unity until his last days. History will remember him in that way when Ethiopia gets its patriotic leaders.

    Rest in peace!

  10. Bless your soul Degazmatch.I met him at the soccer field sharing the same booth.What an honourable person.I still remember how he respected each and everyone came to our booth.It is a big loss for Ethiopia anyways all the noble ones are gone.I was so amazed by his friendliness attitude and dignified personality.I am glad I got that oportunity.People like him who could had done a lot for his country was not given a chance to practice what he had learned.Dedeb Mengistu and another dedeb Mellese got a chance to ruin our country.Sad, sad.

  11. Dejazmatch Zewde loved Ethiopians and Ethiopia with passion. I am sorry for those of you who have`nt known him so close to learn who Dejazmatch was. He was a good father, a teacher and of course a great leader.Ethiopia today has really lost her beloved son who could have done a lot better than the rest of us for our country and the rest of the world.           Unfortunately Dejazmatch Zewde never gotten a chance to excersise his knowledge and ability.May the lord bless and put his soul in heaven.

  12. We Ethiopians have lost a great human being. For those who don’t know him, I recommend reading his books so that you know what I am talking about. He was always a forward looking, positive person. He will be missed by all but will be in heaven.

  13. Addis Ababa, December 21, 2008 (Addis Ababa) – Funeral of Dejazmach Dr. Zewdie Gebreselassie was conducted here on Saturday at the Holy Trinity Church.

    The funeral was conducted in the presence of Foreign Affairs Minister Seyoum Mesfin, higher level government officials, religious leaders, prominent figures, friends and family members.

    Born in 1920 E.C Dejazmach Dr. Zewdie died last Tuesday due to natural causes.

    The late Dejazmach Dr. Zewdie, who was one of the 20th century scholars, served his country as deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs and justice, mayor of Addis Ababa City and Ethiopian ambassador tothe United Nations.

    Dejazmach Dr. Zewdie had exerted efforts to improve justice system in the country.

    He also taught at the Addis Ababa University.

    The late Dejazmach Dr. Zewdie wrote books on Emperor Yohannes IV, relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, among others.

    He also has various materials ready to publish. -ENA

  14. I had the privilege of working for this amazing charismatic man at Wolfson College, Oxford in the late ’60s.At the time he employed me I was young, naive and knew nothing of his background, high rank or history but from the moment of our first meeting was aware I was in the presence of a great and unique personality. My memories of his wisdom,wit honesty and kindness will never fade. A modest, spiritual and courageous man, he could have opted for an easier comfortable life but dedicated himself to a tough path for the love of his country and people.

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