The favorite words of Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation host, Selamawit Dejen Woretaw, are "Smile, as it is the world's most powerful gesture." It is no wonder; she has been smiling, as she hosts a daily sports segment, right after EBC's most watched news program and makes history and shatters the glass ceilings for women broadcasters all over Ethiopia.
The Gondar native's unlikely path to broadcasting started by chance some three years ago. The then Ethiopian Television (ETV) – Ethiopia's lone public broadcasting corporation – was on the lookout for a new host with a fresh look and style. She loved sports, which she barely played it in her adolescent years, but, like most Ethiopian youngsters, had a passing interest in it in her 20s. Her friends were persistent and encouraged her to explore the opportunity.
She was then a busy new graduate of Bahir Dar University in Chemical and Processing Engineering, and was lecturing at Addis Ababa University's prestigious Addis Ababa Science and Technology (ASTU) on a part-time basis, all before her 22nd birthday. She had skipped several grades and graduated from high school a few years in advance.
Her family wanted her to go far. Medical school, perhaps graduate school or even become a full-fledged professor. They knew she had what it takes to pursue and achieve anything she wanted to. She was determined to fulfill their ambition for her.
The competition for the spot to be a host on ETV was stiff; and as a young woman, her chance was like a lottery. Among the hundreds that applied, only four were women. It was a shock, as she explained, when she was chosen as one of four hosts hired. Among the four, she was one of the two women chosen. Her family was not enthusiastic and was disappointed. She was more determined to prove them wrong, and live the old words of feminism: "A woman's place is not necessarily in the kitchen, but wherever she wants to be."
She wanted to be in broadcasting and pursue it with passion and determination. She knew and understood the path was less traveled by such a person and she would be an instant role-model for young girls. Her ultimate destination rested where her childhood heroes, such as artistes Mulualem Tadesse and Serawit Fikre, who each became pioneers in the making of Ethiopian TV commercials.
Read more at thereporterethiopia.com