Tesfaye Sahlu, better known as Ababa Tesfaye, was an Ethiopian comedian, former vocalist, and author of children’s books. During the Korean War, he provided entertainment for the Ethiopian soldiers of the Kagnew Battalion. Emperor Haile Selassie and the Ethiopian Fine Art and Mass Media Prize Trust presented him with awards. He was most known for his children’s television program on the Ethiopian state broadcaster EBC, during which he popularized the tagline “Children! Today’s flowers, tomorrow’s fruit!” Tesfaye Sahlu was born on June 27, 1923, in Kedu, a town in the Bale district of southeast Ethiopia to Egerssa Bedane and Yewuzwork Belete. During his formative years, he attended French Mission School in Harar. At the age of 14, he relocated to Addis Ababa and enrolled in Kokebe Tsibah School. Tesfaye’s father used to characterize him as “ten individuals in one” due to his many talents. Sahlu’s parents both perished in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. He subsequently joined City Hall Theatre alongside Getachew Debalke, Getachew Mekuriya, and Belay Meressa. Tesfaye was one of the few Ethiopian artists to travel to Korea in 1951, entertaining Kagnew Battalion soldiers during the Korean War. For his efforts, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Three times, including a posthumous award for lifetime achievements from the Ethiopian Fine Art and Mass Media Prize Trust in 1998, were bestowed upon him by Emperor Haile Selassie.
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