Dr Kebede Michael was one of the giants in the field f education and literature in Ethiopia. He wrote a total of 26 books including a wide range of translations from various languages. From 1940 to1970, he wrote Amharic school textbooks in which he provided generations of Ethiopian students with enlightening ideas about a wide range of issues and disciplines.
His writings were in both prose and poetry and his poems follow rhyming and writing styles of his own. He also translated – among many – Romeo and Juliet, as well as Macbeth of William Shakespeare. Kebede Michael’s literary works reflect many shades of character and behavior of the Ethiopian society. The contents of many of his books are on history, education, development, philosophy, religion, science and so on.
He worked as an inspector in the Ministry of Education, as Deputy Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1942), as Director of the National Library (1944), as Director General of the Ministry of Education, and as a Cabinet Minster in the Imperial Palace. He was also delegated to many international conferences including at the United Nations in New York.
He received the first Prize for Literature from Emperor Haileselassie. He also received awards from governments of France, Germany, Italy, USSR and Mexico. And in 1990, he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Addis Ababa University for his unparalleled excellence in literature as well as for inspiring generations of Ethiopian authors and writers.
Dr. Kebede Michael died on 12 November 1998 at the age of 82. No other Ethiopian in the country’s history so far has been able to write as extensively on a wide variety of disciplines as did Kebede Michael.
His contributions are enormous to the development of education and literature. And he may be deceased, yet his legacy will live on forever; and Ethiopians are greatly thankful to him.