Covid-19 | Apr 17,2020
For many, the 100-year-old Tsion Michael Andom is known as the first fashion designer who introduced the Habesha traditional wear to the international markets. To the hospitality and tourism advisor Fisseha Aseres "Emama Tsion", as most people call her, remains an eloquent speaker with the power of persuasion. He recalls Tsion's self-confidence and proving worthy of her speech when she met the late Prime Minster Meles Zenawi and played a significant role in releasing political prisoners.
Fisseha and "Emama Tsion" met in 2004 in a joint action organised under the Ethiopian Elders Counseling Association to free political prisoners of the opposition party leaders.
"She was a woman of principle," he said.
Her passion and interest in sewing clothes could not go unnoticed at 12 years as her mother was her first teacher while her father presented her with the first sewing machine, a gift of encouragement. She practised on her dolls, while creativity and passion paved the way for her designing the Habesha traditional clothes.
Emama Tsion was educated in the Comboni and Unity High Schools in Khartoum, Sudan, where her Father worked as an interpreter at the office of the British Governor. She started working on traditional dresses in the 1960s. Her designs and capes became popular and were worn by women, including the Ethiopian royal family. With grace and admiration, Tsion waltzed through half a century in the design business.
Her daughter Sophia Petros, who relocated from England five years ago to be a caregiver to her mother, views her as a loving yet disciplinarian that raised her three children with strict rules. She recalls her visits to see her family in Europe every three months used to be delightful.
Emama Tsion was a people person who had a large circle of friends, loved her family and was a devout Christian. "She loved her family, church and dressing people," Sophia said.
Born in Khartoum, in November 1922, to an Eritrean father and Ethiopian mother, Tsion is the elder sister to the first post-imperial acting Head of State of Ethiopia, Aman Michael Andom.
General Aman, the darling of the Ethiopian Army, also known as the Desert Lion, once led Ethiopian forces to the Korean War. He was the recipient of the highest honour from the UN for his accomplishments and was perhaps best remembered for his heroics in Ogaden in the early sixties.
Considered an enemy of the "revolution", the Dergue put her in prison for seven years before her release in 1984. She was 52 when the revolution was announced. Her brother, a very influential member of the military junta, Dergue, was a high-ranked General run down by a tank in his own house after a brave last stand against his perpetrators on November 23, 1974.
According to her daughter, Tsion's attachment to her younger brother was out of this world. Learning about his death was unbearable, putting her on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
In her interview six years ago, Tsion said, "I was put in jail because of my brother as we were too close to each other. His death has left a big hole in my heart that no one can fill."
She also had two brothers who died in Cairo, Egypt and a sister that departed early, leaving her to be the only girl in the house.
While in prison, she made many friends and educated more than 20 kids.
Her advocacy for gender equality and charity organisations in Ethiopia cannot go unnoticed. With the help of foreign organisations, she promoted Red Cross, Cheshire Homes, and Women's Association efforts.
To Eden Sahle, a founder and CEO of Yoda Technology Plc, Tsion was a bold woman that loved her country. As a close friend of her father, Eden recalls Emama Tsion telling her to dress modestly as it was the mark of a beautiful woman. Eden believes that her diet and optimism in life kept her alive over the years of tragedies.
"She loved to cook her meals, eat salad," she said.
Her contribution to the fashion community and beyond is unquestionable, although she has not been given the recognition she deserves. She took it upon herself to open a store that publishes magazines to advertise traditional Ethiopian clothes called "Tsion Tibeb" around what is known as Meskel Square.
Emama Tsion died on Tuesday, December 6 2022, a week after celebrating her 100th birthday with family and friends. She was laid to rest on December 11, 2022, at Saints Peter Paul Catholic Church with a burial ceremony that saw the attendance of President Sahlework Zewde.
The woman of excellence, Tsion Michael Andom, left her woven marks in this world to be remembered.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 07,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1184]
Covid-19 | Apr 17,2020
Radar | May 20,2023
Radar | Nov 05,2022
Commentaries | Feb 29,2020
Radar | Nov 19,2022
Fortune News | Sep 21,2019
Radar | Oct 03,2020
Radar | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | Dec 12,2020
Fortune News | Oct 17,2020
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
The average debt ratio in sub-Saharan Africa has almost doubled in just a decade - fr...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Sep 30 , 2023
The recent gathering by the leadership - and the rank and file - of the Prosperity Pa...
Sep 23 , 2023
Ethiopia's contemporary political leaders and the policy wonks under their command ha...
Sep 16 , 2023
The Ethiopian economic narrative oscillates between pockets of resilience and signifi...
Sep 10 , 2023
Earlier this Ethiopian fiscal year, the heralding of a peace deal became synonymous w...
In a world where resilience and love are often tried and tested, Salem Getachew's (MD) luminous spirit stands as a testament to the enduring...
It is fascinating to witness the power of technology in bridging the gap between individuals. However, I can not help but wonder if the surg...
Or see contact page