Late last month, Shewaferaw Desalegn played in front of a sold-out audience at Gonder University at an Easter Holiday event. He discussed media professionalism, rising living costs, and lingo-cultural variety in front of a mixed audience of students and academics, all in the context of relocation. Unsurprisingly, the young stand-up comic made more sense and provided more depth to the arguments than the horde of political activists and analysts who have become commonplace on our television screens. On television today, there are more lies than truths in political discussion. Shewaferaw Desalegn delivered a political comedy that was well-informed, intellectual, and graceful. He appears to understand the difficult balancing act that exists between Ethiopia’s competing political forces and what appeals to young people.
He dabbled with sensitive topics such as ethnic strife and came away unhurt. This comes at a time when politicians are struggling to talk about historical, cultural, or political issues without alienating one another.