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Some celebrate birthdays but Goethe is celebrating a season in style, marking fifty years with music, dance, raffles, stories and learning made fun that everyone will enjoy regardless of age.
For example many might not know that in 1909, German Dr. Max Steinkühler became Emperor Menelik II’s personal doctor after Germany sent a team of experts to help modernize the country. He successfully treated Menelik alleviating his serious illness when suddenly his health took a turn for the worse and rumours circulated that he had been poisoned. An exhibition at Goethe curated by Girma Fisseha opens on June 18 and can be visited at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies until the end of that month.
But if history is not your thing there were acrobatic shows, a stand where people could get their portrait sketched and a trial class called “German in twenty minutes,” where people sat in class for a rapid German lesson that showed the institute’s unique teaching method which holds audiences captive while they master a new skill.
Environment and the arts has been a recurrent theme at Goethe and in early May expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability, will merge creativity with saving the planet.
Beginning at the end of May Tewodros Bekele, Muluken Dessalegn and Hirut Gizaw,will showcase their work for a month. Their art also brings hope for a sustainable planet.
Meanwhile, winners of the “Ichtraum” an essay writing competition which began in March were announced, with the first place winner receiving the prize of a four week educational trip to Germany.
On Thursday, April 26, Goethe also hosted a contemporary dance program “Play with the Senses” that was displayed inside the institute. It was choreographed by the well-known Sello Pesa, from South Africa whose work mixes contemporary dance, traditional and vernacular forms in collaboration with Ethiopian choreographers Junaid Jemal Sendi and Mintesinot Getachew and other dancers from Addis Ababa. Pesa, who started his career dancing in the streets and clubs before making it to television, began choreographing in 1999. He became a member of the Soweto Dance Company and other dance groups before founding his own “Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre” in 2010.
The unconventional show took up the concept of the site-specific dance theatre where the open space was part of the development of the play.
Finally architecture lovers can see photos of the three unique buildings that housed the institute throughout its fifty year history. In short there is something for everyone and more German influence in Ethiopia that you might imagine if you care to step inside Goethe and discover for yourself.