By Groum Abate and
The young, talented and recently free from prison, Tewodros Kassahun alias Teddy Afro is planning a tour around the world to thank his fans for their support during his imprisonment.
Teddy told Capital that he will take the next two months off, preparing in Ethiopia, and will then launch a worldwide come back tour. He said that he has no plans of releasing a new album yet.
Teddy Afro was freed from the Kaliti prison on Thursday August 13, after serving 16 months of a two-year sentence for hit-and-run manslaughter.
He thanked the public, who he said supported him morally during his prison term.
The performer, who was at his mother’s home after being released from the prison on probation for his good behavior, has no plan of engaging in any kind of performance for the next two months.
Teddy was found guilty of killing Degu Yibeltal, an 18-year-old homeless while driving his BMW through Menilik Avenue in 2007.
He was first sentenced to six years in prison and a fine of 18,000 birr by the Federal High Court. This was later reversed by the Supreme Court after he appealed. The Supreme Court lowered the sentence to two years and 11,000 birr in February after his lawyer argued that the victim had been drunk and was lying unconscious on the road when he was hit by the car.
Furious by this, the prosecutor’s office appealed and the fine was increased back to 18,000 birr.
On Facebook, a social networking site, the performer thanked fans who had been following his trial diligently for the last two years. He concluded his message to his fans saying: “Love as always wins”.
In 2001, Teddy released his second album, ‘Abugida’, named after the Abugida syllables of the Ge’ez language. Several tracks quickly caught the ear of many listeners in Ethiopia, including ‘Haile Selassie’, a tribute to the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I; and ‘Haile’, in honor of the Olympic long distance champion Haile Gebrselassie.
His third album and which was a hit in Ethiopia, ‘Yasteseryal’, was released in 2005. The release of this album coincided with elevated political tension in Ethiopia surrounding the general elections in May 2005.
His politically and socially inspired songs vibrated a call for unity and peace yet stirred controversy, originating mostly from the song “Yasteseryal”, which was banned from government radio and television stations.
On November 3rd, 2006, investigators from the Addis Ababa Police Commission arrested Teddy Afro suspecting him of leaving a scene of a car accident that they alleged caused the death of an 18-year old Degu Yibeltal.
Degu, who lived on the streets in Addis, came from Gojjam originally to live with his uncle, before he became homeless. He was killed on the night of November 2nd, 2006, after he was hit by a car. Police was told the plate number of a BMW by a taxi driver who remained anonymous.
After he was put under custody for a day, Teddy was released on a 50,000 Birr bail. In April 2008, he was arrested and charged with murder.