He is is a leap. Holding high assignments in public offices, he was a new face with the new office responsible for coordinating and mobilising resources to Renaissance Dam. As he said, it might well be his reading that put him in the limelight, particularly with representing EPRDF in critical debates involving high level ideas, like freedom of expression. His reverence and articulated commitment to the party seems to have been shaped by his early childhood memories, which are still defining moments for him. The young official shies away from the question about age, however, his narrative indicates how close he is to his rural hometown,Alemata. Flagship to the states discourse of ensuring continuity and giving way to the young, Zadig stands out. We questioned him about his life now compared to 20 years ago:
Fortune: Key Priorities
ZA: Back in the days, peace and education were my anchors in life. I grew up without a dad, who was in prison suspected of being affiliated with the armed struggle. I longed to see him and that was dependent on peace. Immediately after the war was over and my dad was back with me, I sat in a class with war victims that were constant reminders of its brutal impact. As a boy from a small town, education was the only channel away from war and poverty.
Now, after twenty years, the most important thing for me right now is to sustain peace through development and democracy.
What Tickles the Taste Buds?
ZA: I have not developed any particular preference to any kind of food. I eat as a necessity. Out of familiarity I think, I enjoy my mum’s Shiro.
Evolution of Earnings
HG: Twenty years back, I was not of an age to be making my own living. I was one of the good students selected to give tutorial classes to lower grade students. The Tigray Development Association (TDA) used to pay us 50 Br a month. Now, I get close to 8000 Br gross salary a month.
Splashing Out on Fashion
HG: As a child, my most cherished item were the Nike sneakers my uncle brought me from Melbourne. Twenty years now Out of my pocket, I remember once I bought a 3000 Br suit from the US. It was high quality, but bought on sale. I had the chance to splash the cash, as I had a per-diem for the weeks’ conference I went to attend.
HG: Twenty years back when I was in school, I was the nerd of the school. I never played, but read all the time. Now, I think I have changed a bit; I have started socialising more, even with strangers. But it is still not my favourite thing – reading comes first.
I have always aspired to do away with my problems. My problems gave the strength to fight back. Growing up without a father and helping my classmates who were physically impaired during the war has rather served as a lifetime assignment.
Perception of Death
HG: Whenever I think of death, I think of Urgency. Twenty years back, I lost a cousin, some what surprisingly. That shaped my perception about death. The shock still lingers; now, I never take life for granted and try to live everyday as if it is my last.
In Your CD Collection
HG: I never had my own collection, and never take the initiative to follow any particular form of music. But I know I do not hate music. I allow my driver to enjoy listening to his music in the car. I enjoy it too.
HG: Meles inspires me, and his folks. You know, when he was 17 he quit his medical education and went to the bushes to liberate the people. He made a contribution to the cause for 17 years,and then came here and made a contribution to the making of the nation, dying in the service of the cause. His consistency, determination, non-stop courage really inspires me. I wonder and I ask myself if I can do that; if I can continue to do what he and his senior colleagues did nonstop for more than three decades
Tipping the Scales
HG:I grew up and naturally gained weight. But what amazes me is that I have a lot of gray hair.
HG: I was never exposed to the concept of brands in my small town. And now I know about them, I do not associate with such Ideas. I do not connect it with anything but perception, which I have never had.
HG: I can say no. As a nerd at school, all I loved to do was read. I still read, but not to level I wish I could.
HG: In my small village, the most celebrated holiday is Timket. I have some memories of joining friends for the whole day, following the tabot[ark]. Nowadays, I have no particular plans for holidays. Since it is time off, I will have the chance to meet friends.
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