This year’s independence festivity is quite unique in all of its dimensions, from its bilateral preparations of various aspects in giving Eritrea a quarter of a century joy to the tribute it deserves. As so, celebrations have started earlier this year, as early as spring knocked the doors of the month April, and on third day of that month a call was made to conduct a student’s week in the Anseba region. There by, the administration of the Education Ministry’s branch in Keren sub zone with a clear view to preserving the nation’s values and bequeathing such an asset to the young generations pointed out the necessity of having a youth week in honouring our 25th anniversary.
The youth week programs held in various sub-zones around the country like Serejeka, Mai- Minne, Barentu and various sub-zones of the Anseba region consisted of cultural and sports competitions as well as political and social promotional activities. It was seen that on the youth week that was held in Keren from April 27th until the 1st of May, 2016 around 1,400 students participated in the various events.
The administrator of Logo Anseba sub-zone, Mr. Isak Ti’um on his behalf said that the initiatives made due contribution in popularizing the role of youths including students to enrich their potentials in the domains of culture and sports. Identically Mr. Berhane Tsegay the PFDJ branch secretary in the sub-zone, noted that the youth week helps students to avail themselves of the programs drawn up in connection with such events to develop their capacities.
Parallel to that, here in the heart of Asmara, the shows and concerts that have been going on the grounds of cinema Roma and cinema Asmara by both citizens and foreigners since the 2nd of May in honouring the quarter of a century fest have brought the levels of excitement in the heart of every anticipating Eritrean. In continuation to feature and historic film premier viewings on 12th and 13th of May.
However, I was part of the audience in four of these events both in cinema Asmara and Roma, where many new songs and musical dramas appeared to the mass both live on air and on the theatre’s stage from May 8 to the 10th. It was always available for individuals of all ages to enjoy, to that matter the theatres on a fixed due time of 7:00 pm, with no longer time for the massive number audience of verity to fill the theatre. It was such a packed crowed, that audience would stand and pail up because the seats had been already filled.
The show as a whole through its performances was displaying what the Eritreans have strived and achieved in 25 years. For instance on May 10th and 11th on cinema Roma drama’s like “Wedi Asmara” were about a young veteran in last 80’s and first 90’s who had anxious desire in seeing Asmara, “Ri’eyie” or translated “I Saw” written and directed by Sirak Michael, was about a 75 year old man Yasin, who wants to pass on the history of the nation to the young generations while he still alive, and he met a young boy who thinks he is not lucky because he wasn’t born when history was in the making. While dramas like “Geleb”/ or “Shield” written by Mohammed Saeid Osman and Mohammed Dafla were based on a true stories of the independence struggle, when civilians were helping veterans in several ways and the manoeuvres women used to help wounded soldiers to shelter and escape from the hands of the enemy.
Most of all, what won the top part of my list of interests was a drama entitled “Meninet” or “Identity”, written and directed by Mussie Kidane, was on a live show in cinema Roma on May 11. What made the play different from other dramas was that it had no script of words spoken, it was packaged in action only, all in a choreographic manner, just like a painting that has a thousand words to say yet this one was a moving painting. It displayed the history of Eritrea and the struggles and annexations of people who overcame since 150 years back.
Performers taking part in the choreographic play like Saba Desta, Kisanet Fikadu, Filmon Berhe, Kokob Hadgu, Natnael Asefaw and others showed a tremendous performance of feelings and charismas to make audience encounter the mood of the drama’s theme and plot. They were dressed in the same way our veterans did back in time of war, while others dressed in military uniforms to indicate both fighting for a nation and protecting it afterwards.
It mainly illustrated the struggle for identity that were to be astounded in fighting for the rights and liberties, be it individually or nationally. Playing back old and famous songs of Yemane Barya, Teberih Tesfahuney, Tewelde Reda, Fihira, Wedi Tkhul, Abraham Afewerki and many others who sang about the nation’s greatness and were set as time indicators in the chronology of history time line with in the drama. To that the viewers would know what period of a time the play was talking about. Slowly the scenes represent transformation of periods from the phase of colonialism to resisting annexation; the 30 year’s battle for independence and search of national and strategic freedom to our time of nation building and preserving it.
On the other hand, it clearly pointed out what the Eritreans have strove for independence and what they have been working within the past 25 years, and that made the drama stand out for me in every way. It reminded many of us that life goes on and that history is the only thing that will remain and that we are obliged in making it.
All the cultural and musical shows packed together under the supervision of the members of the Eritrean cultural and sports commission have done tremendous efforts in organizing and maintaining the events. To this, their hard work has started to pay off in the light of the anniversary. The celebration continues until May the 24th; events like street shows, annual carnivals and street performances by foreign groups from Germany, China, USA, South Africa, and Uganda will be taking place on the 17th of May and many other shows like fashion shows, traditional appearances at EXPO and comedy plays at theatres of Asmara are ahead in the coming days.
All these programs and more offered the celebration a fantastic initiation and a beginning of joy and glorious anticipation of the day we annually wait at the tip of our chairs, to celebrate our happiness and remember the lives of the brave men who sacrificed their lives for their people, as we all are able to feel each day with harmony and composure to the overall unity as once voiced out by Abeba Haile’s song of ‘One Heart One Nation’.