Konjit Teklu – Tirsit (1949-1991)

“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, remains and is immortal”.  Albertpine

Konjit Teklu was born on June 8, 1949 in Addis Ababa. She was the second child of her mother Yeshewalul Bekele and her father Teklu Dejen. She spent her early childhood in Addis Ababa around Arat Kilo. Due to the nature of her father’s work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia during the Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign, she had the privilege of visiting different places in Europe and Americas.Finally, after serving as diplomats in the United States, her parents went back to Ethiopia leaving her behind to pursue her education, which she diligently did in the years following.

Konjit attended Gordon Jr. High in Washington DC, moving on to Western High in DC for her high school years. She then joined Howard University in the District of Columbia and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in June 1970. She continued her post graduate education in Howard University, after being granted a scholarship as a graduate assistant. In 1974, she got her Masters Degree in Economics. Her graduate thesis was titled ‘Price Instability of Primary products with reference to Ethiopian coffee’.

Even when means of communication and information was rare around the world, she was always keeping her motherland Ethiopia and her people close to her heart. All she was thinking was to go back to Ethiopia one day and apply her knowledge to serve her people.

She was married to her long time friend Yayneshet Teferi,who happens to be the son of the late Brg. General Teferi Benti. The two weregreat couple and fun to be around according to her relatives and friends.

When the revolution erupted in Ethiopia in 1974, the two decided it is a good opportunity for them to return to their country and be part of the change thereby contributing to the growth of the country. Konjit started applying for a job to different Ethiopian agencies and she was immediately hired in one them.

In the mean time, the Ethiopian revolution took a different path for the worse and the couple joined the EPRP opposition. The derg proclaimed ‘red terror’ and what followed was the darkest times in Ethiopian history.

Gen. Teferi Banti was summarily executed by Mengistu’s junta and his son, Konjit’s husband, Yayneshet Teferi was jailed and later executed as well. Konjit managed to hide in the underground to continue fighting the bloody junta. She was captured once but since she has disguised her identity very convincingly, they were not able to tell who she was. Yet she had witnessed unimaginable and brutal treatment of fellow prisoners, which she had chronicled later while she was in the battle field.  (refer to the publications page)

She fought this brutal regime in the following 15 years under the EPRP banner in the mountains of Gondar, Gojam and Tirgay. Her bravery and persistence was admired by her comrades and she was loved by her friends and the local community in the areas they had liberated.

She died after a sudden illness in 1991 (unconfirmed) around the time of the downfall of the derg, in Gondar. All those years she isolated herself completely and kept her whereabouts unknown to her family, as she is aware it will have a dire consequence for them.

Konjit could have lived a very comfortable life anywhere in the world. Yet she chose to live and die for the principles she believed in. She died for her people. This is the ultimate price one could pay. Her family and friends are filled with pride of her heroism and patriotism. This site is dedicated to her and to all that had fallen fighting brutal Ethiopian regimes.  God Bless their souls!