Geeska Afrika Online

Ethiopia: Siyoum, DW’s Amharic listeners know him

Addis Ababa (HAN) November 12, 2014 – Public diplomacy and Regional Security and safety news. . MY DW CONTRIBUTORS. Mantegaftot Sileshi is an author, producer and coordinator from Learning by Ear, a project that is celebrating international success with educational radio dramas. The topics are chosen and developed on location and the program addresses challenges that are confronted daily by young Africans. The authors and actors all come from Africa and the projects are coordinated in Germany.

In DW’s studios, Sileshi listens very carefully to the recorded tracks and applies the finishing touches. The casting and recording with African actors has already been completed and another exciting radio drama is nearing completion. Sileshi is holding a screenplay he wrote about raising children. It comes with an important message. “I want to convey to the audience through my stories that being rich or poor should not be the deciding factor when raising a child. Love and attention cannot be replaced by money.”

After his studies in theater in Addis Ababa and many years as an author, the 34 year old Ethiopian was searching for new challenges. DW Akademie’s International Traineeship brought him to the Rhineland, but he has always had a connection to Germany through author contests, German-Amharic projects and his dream of studying at a German university – which came true. After completing his journalistic training, he studied “International Media Studies” and graduated as Master of Arts. He stayed in Bonn since and started to work on the “Learning by Ear” project in 2009.

Sileshi goes over the spoken text line for line as his story comes to life. His passion for theater combined with his studies and experience have made him an expert at developing character, building suspense and introducing complex issues within his stories.

Africa and his past experiences provide a source for Sileshi’s story ideas. Characters, portraits and dramas are born out of his recollections of people and situations from his home town. All of this comes back to life in Learning by Ear’s radio dramas.

The production day has come to an end, all the tracks are completed and Sileshi is hurrying home to his family. “At the end of the day my daughter is waiting for me to come home and read her a story both in Amharic and German. We talk about the characters in the book and discuss situations. I am trying to get her to think more about things.”

Coping with difficult situations, thinking things over and making the right decision are also qualities that Learning by Ear seeks to promote. Learning by Ear is an educational program for young Africans produced and broadcast in Amharic, English, French, Hausa, Kiswahili and Portuguese. The radio dramas present to young people a mix of stories, reporting and features which aim to teach them about important issues such as HIV, human rights, democracy and protecting the environment.

Text: Elena Isayenko
Edited by: Claudia Winter

Translated by: Wesley Rahn



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