A short Life History of obbo
Taye Teferra Guuma
Taye Tefera was born on October 15, 1948, to his father Teferra Guumaa and his mother Chaltu Birru, at Waajeti Suphee district, Ghimbi Zone, Western Oromiyaa. He began his primary schooling at Harrojji
Agamsaa. He completed elementary education at the Aqaaqi Adventist Mission School in 1964. He attended secondary education at Aqaaqi
and Kuyyeraa Seventh Day Adventist Mission High Schools and graduated in 1968.
After the completion of High School
Education, Taye was employed at Ministry of Community
Development as a social worker. He also worked at Empress Zewuditu
Hospital, Jos Hansen Pharmaceutical Company and Coesfeld. While employed full-time, Taye
attended the then Emperor Haile Selassie
I University Extension program and graduated in 1970, with a Diploma in Social
While still in High School, Taye became conscious of the oppression of the Oromo nation
by the Abyssinian government. As a result, in 1968, he joined the Mecha-Tulema Development Association and became active
member. As a member of the Association, he assisted the Haile
Selassie I University student movement, with printing
and distribution of opposition leaflets against Feudalism and the Imperial Monarchy
and contributed to the struggle that led to the downfall of Emperor Haile Selassie’s monarchy and the subsequent abolition of the feudal system. Due to
his active and militant participation in the anti-monarchy struggle, Taye was arrested by Imperial security forces.
Shortly after he was released in 1971, Taye fled Ethiopia
and arrived in the Sudan after walking for 8 days. Taye lived in
the Sudan as a refugee from 1971-1972. In 1971 he was admitted to Khartoum University as
guest student. In 1972, he joined the Pan African Movement in Khartoum University.
Once again, Taye’s activism put him at odds with Sudanese
As his safety became critical, Taye decided to leave Sudan;
and went to Bulgaria to seek political asylum there. When he arrived at Sofia Airport, his luggage
with all personal belongings and documents were confiscated by security force.
The then Bulgarian government, which had good relation with Ethiopia, not only
denied Taye refuge, but also via Cairo, deported him
back to the Sudan. The Sudanese Government also deported Taye
back to Cairo and Cairo upon arrival sent Taye to Syria. Syria
sent Taye to Stockholm (Sweden) and
from Stockholm he was sent to East Berlin. The next night he was dropped in West Berlin. Then he was
brought to the Diakonie ("Morgenländlich
Mission") where he cleaned floor for boarding and meal. During this time Taye applied for a refugee status and was granted 1973.
In Berlin, after he completed
the German language courses, Taye worked for Krone and Albrecht KG from 1973-74. In 1975, Taye joined the American University of Maryland in Berlin to study
criminology. In the same year he married Aster Gemeda.
Aster, in addition to being a devoted couple to each other, they became a
formidable team in the struggle for the liberation Oromia.
Taye and Aster have a daughter, Wajeti,
31; a son, Abbichu, 29.
Since he arrived in Berlin, Taye tirelessly worked for justices, equality and Human Rights
for all people, in general, and the Oromo people, in particular.
Taye promoted the Oromo national liberation struggle and brought it to
the attention of the International community through his contacts, friends in
the media, political parties, and political activists in Germany
and particularly in Berlin. He collaborated with church and political groups to bring the
Oromo refugees issue to the forefront.
From 1974 -1976, Taye
worked actively with Ethiopian Students Movement to expose the cruelty of the
fascist Derg Government in Ethiopia.
In 1977 he was one of the founding members of the Union of Oromo Students in Europe, - UOSE/TBOA and worked
actively day and night for the Oromo cause. Through TBOA, Taye
supported and worked closely with the Oromo Liberation Front and other
opposition Groups who were fighting against the brutal Military dictatorship in
In 1976, Taye
organized the first Pan African movement in Berlin.
In 1978, he found the Oromo Human Rights
Organization and later the Oromo Help Organization (OHO), together with
Brigitte and Axel-Klapoth and Dr. Thomas Zittelmann and some other German and Oromo Friends. In 1979,
when Oromo Relief Association (ORA) was found in Khartoum/Sudan, Taye supported it and closely worked with ORA.
In 1979, Taye
organized several peaceful protest actions for the release of Oromo political
prisoners, such as Rev. Gudina Tumsa,
his Wife Tsahai Tolessa,
and Naimat Isaa. On several
German Church Day events, he organized a signing protest cards that were mailed
to Mengistu’s s office and Embassies. The protest cards requested the release
the imprisoned Oromos. Taye
also helped thousands of refugees who fled Ethiopia
and the then East Block countries, which supported the Ethiopian Government.
The Abyssinian Government considered Taye was a threat. As a result, on March 21, 1982, the Ethiopian government attempted to assassinate Taye and his friend Rev. Dr. Gunnar Hasselblatt.
The Ethiopian Government sent an assassination-commando to West Berlin. The assassination
squad, equipped with silencer-pistol. came through
East-Berlin to Tayes residence in West-Berlin (Reinickendorf) and waited at the bus stop. In that second when
Taye appeared with his wife and his two children, the assigned shooter suddenly
refused to kill him when he saw Taye's children which
reminded him of his own children. The next day on 22nd March 1982, the Embassy decided to execute Taye with
a bomb which was suppose to be sent to Berliner Missionswerk, where Taye’s office was located. The assigned killers prepared the
bomb and when they were about to leave the hotel room in Domus
Hotel (corner Pariser Street/Uhland-Street), the bomb
fell down, exploded and killed one of the agents. The survived and highly
disabled Agent gave a full report of that Mission in 1992 on
Ethiopian TV. The incident clearly indicated how much Taye’s
involvement in the Oromo national liberation struggle had worried the Ethiopian
In 1984, Taye organized, in cooperation with
other leaders of TBOA such as Mukria Bulcha Aster Gemeda, Tasfaye Alemu, Fiseha Gehneti and Kulani Gudina, a big celebration of the 10th anniversary of
the Union of Oromo Students in Europe.
In 1984, Taye organized
a fundraising for the victims of famine and refugees in Somalia, the
Sudan and Ethiopia. In this humanitarian
mission, Taye worked with Dr. Gunnar Hasselblatt, Mr.Peter Niggli, Mr. Manfred Voegele, Frau
Ulricke Hoyer, Mr. Friedrich Grün, , Mr. Tom and Mrs. Rita Veske, Frau Barbara John and during later years with
Rev. Gerd Decke and Rev.
Dr. Rheinhard Kees. As a
founding member of "Afrikan Rat” and Migrationsrat, Taye worked very
closely with the Refugee Committees in Berlin to promote
relationships and co-operation among immigrants in Berlin. He was
always grateful to those who encouraged and supported him through out all the
years to accomplish his vision and commitments.
During the years 1984/1985, the Oromo
Student Union in Europe became a mass organization of the Oromo Liberation Front and Taye worked closely with all Oromos
to promote the cause. Taye was an active member of
the OLF and worked as a member of the management of Voice of Oromo Liberation
Radio since its formation.
With the support of the Berlin Senate and
the Berliner Missionswerk, Taye
organized the development of the Oromo Horn of Africa Centre (OHAZ) in Berlin. Here the
refugees have found shelter and counseling.
During the year 2004/2005, he was an Executive
Committee member of the Migration committee and member of the African Committee
Taye passed away on April 04, 2008 in Berlin. Taye is survived by is wife Aster and their two children Wajeti and Abbichu. The funereal
ceremony of Taye was held on 12, April 2008 in Berlin.