African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187

Full Length Research Paper

From disillusionment to protest: Poems by Haile Selassie I University students

Tesfaye Dagnew
  • Tesfaye Dagnew
  • Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 27 October 2014
  •  Accepted: 09 June 2015
  •  Published: 31 August 2015


This paper analyzes Amharic poems written in the 1950s and 1960s during annual College Day competitions held by students of the then Haile Selassie I University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The contemporary global and local socio-political situations are given as background to help understand the context in which the poems were written. The poems have been grouped into two categories, as poems of disillusionment and poems of protest. While disillusionment poems revealed the awareness of the university students as regards the problems that prevailed in the country, the protest poems adamantly shouted that the regime had to be up-rooted. The paper recommends that the contributions of these poems to the socio-political changes that took place in Ethiopia in 1974 have to be studied and be given their proper place.


Key words: Poems, Haile Selassie I University, students, disillusionment, protest.