Haacaaluu Hundeessa was a popular and celebrated singer of protest songs from Ethiopia and his killing has sparked off massive protests in his homeland. He was brutally killed last week and ever since his death, Ethiopians have been raged and are out on the streets demanding justice for an artist they adored.
Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was one of the most popular icons of Ethiopia and he is seen as a star who instilled new energy in the country’s youth and energised the ethnic community Oromo with his powerful music.
He was just 34 years old but was responsible for creating a new sense of political awakening among the Oromo youth about the economic and political marginalisation during the years of protests that in 2018 led to the downfall of Ethiopia’s government and bringing into the helm of power, Abiy Ahmed, the country’s first ever Oromo prime minister.
As someone who was seen by the people of his country as an icon and as someone who had gained popularity for his revolutionary musical renditions across Africa, his death has brought the skies crashing down for his people.
His towering musical genius and the potential of his music to transform people’s political sensibilities is beyond what can be put to words. What made his music unique was his ability to very sensitively put across and articulate some of Ethiopia’s most strongly rooted problems through his poetry and music.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Oromo identity was given an altogether new dimension in Haacaalu’s works. He sang in the language of the natives about the need to strive for cultural and political freedom through his music and impactful lyrics. He was someone who had been to jail for his political activism and it was in jail that he wrote many of his most famous songs. His songs for the Oromo community speak of revolution, love and resistance to the system that oppressed them.
He asked them to raise their voice and come together for the values of peace, equality and justice. But Ethiopia’s revolutionary artist was tragically shot dead in Addis Ababa on Monday by unknown gunmen and buried on Thursday at a church in Ambo, his hometown.
His murder has sparked off protests and angered people everywhere. In fact, protests against his brutal killing have turned violent over the last couple of days and have led to the killing of more than 100 people across Ethiopia.