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‘Massen Melqesn Qeddamot:’ Eritrea’s book capable of fulfilling UNESCO Memory of the World Register

 Solomon Tsehaye interviewing villagers  - Photo Credit: Kemey


‘Massen Melqesn Qeddamot:’ Eritrea’s book capable of fulfilling UNESCO Memory of the World Register

By Yosief Abraham Z

A highly acclaimed book by Solomon Tsehaye—Massen Melqesn Qeddamot (Volume I)—is armored with basic requirements to register Eritrea’s cultural heritage profoundly. According to the decisive criteria established by UNESCO's Memory of the World Register Program, the 2013 book from Eritrea answers the pre-requirements for registering it as part of the country’s cultural heritages for it covers chronicles of dirges and elegies performers from 1735 AD until post-independent era.

This anthology of traditional poem performers amplifies nearly 350 capturing works of 35 distinguished oral poets, a core reason that armors significance of the book as part of UNESCO Memory of the World Register, an international initiative launched to safeguard noble heritages of humanity against possible societal amnesia, disinterest, times ravage, and, among others, willful and deliberate destruction.

Published in 2012 by Francescana Printing Press in Asmara, this 544-paged book contains crucial information about locality important and intangible treasures in history and culture of Eritrea. Resultantly, as UNESCO Memory of the World Register strongly claims that items or documents in any form, which may have outstanding aesthetic, stylistic or linguistic value of a disappeared or disappearing carrier or format have to be recognized officially, the book has the potency to enhance Africa’s already registered eleven documentary heritages.

Preliminary information from the headquarters office ascertains that rarity of the covered subject matter, its integrity, the threat that has been looming on the course of the matters, are also important for registering archival efforts as part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.
Benin’s colonial archives, Madagascar’s 1824-1897 Royal Archives, Letter Journals of Hendrik Witbooi from Namibia and South Africa’s Liberation Struggle Living Archive Collections, are among the renowned and registered Africa’s treasures in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Memory of the World Register.

“Eritrean oral poetry has evolved historically as an entire unwritten art form created spontaneously…on occasions. By documenting this cultural heritage, he—Solomon—has done a wonderful job of making this tradition accessible,” states review of the book by Professor Asmerom Legesse, Emeritus Professor of Anthology. “[This] book exemplifies the best aspects of field work and research, honoring the long and rich tradition of oral Tigrigna poetry in Eritrea,” armors Dr. Ghirmay Negash, Professor of English and African Literature.

Born in December 1956, Solomon Tsehaye is a poet, writer and cultural researcher.

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Related Reading: A Conversation with Solomon Tsehaye
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Yosief Abraham Z is current Executive Director of HorMid Media and Art Center. For any comments, criticisms and questions, you can contact him at josiabraham29@gmail.com


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‘Massen Melqesn Qeddamot:’ Eritrea’s book capable of fulfilling UNESCO Memory of the World Register Reviewed by Admin on 12:08 AM Rating: 5

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