Ulrich Braukämper Giving Lecture

Ulrich Braukämper Passed Away – Remembering a Hero in the Hadiya Scholarship

My heart just fell down with sadness on passing of this giant story teller of the Hadiya and the continent of Africa!  Having spent more than four years in Hadiyaland and other parts of Ethiopia he wrote three great books about the Hadiya people of Ethiopia (in addition to more books about other people groups of Africa & countesses journal articles) , A History of the Hadiya in Southern Ethiopia and Fandaanano: The Traditional Socio-Religious System of the Hadiyya in Southern Ethiopia both of which we have reviewed on this site – follow the links above to read them.

He co-wrote his third Hadiya book Praise and Teasing: Narrative Songs of the Hadiyya in Southern Ethiopia with Hadiya scholar Dr. Tilahun Mishago who I am proud to call a friend. The number of Prof. Ulrich Braukämper published works on Hadiya history and the history of Islam in Northeast Africal in journals/other publications articles are too many.  It is impractical to enumerate them all here.

I was intrigued when he failed to answer the email I had sent him couple of months ago with a few question for him.  He must have not been feeling well at the time.  I struggle to write this article because I am so sad now.  Thank you Mr. Stefan Ritter for letting me know of this sad news via email.

He was the most generous man in scholarly work I have ever seen in any field. It seems that the Hadiya will only know posthumously what he meant to its history and culture.  He never got the credit he deserved from the nation he worked so hard to put on the world map.  There are certainly a few individuals who did.  I am certain his work will serve as input to further Hadiya scholarship for a very long time to come.

May his soul rest in peace.  Hadiya scholars who know his contributions will forever cherish and honor his memory. This website is especially indebted to him as many of our articles use his work as reference.  Almost all the pictures in our Hadiya Pictures – From the Past come from the collection of pictures he took in Hadiyaland and have been stored in the archives of Frobenius-Institute of Frankfurt am Main, Germany that sponsored of his studies.  We send love and comfort to his family who also suffered during his long projects in Ethiopia and elsewhere. Our prayer is with you.

Further Information About Prof. Ulrich Braukämper

In 2019, his home journal has published 1 an article celebrating his life and work. Follow the link below to read the full PDF version of journal article in our separate web page.

There are many things many people have said about him, but here I start with few selected quotes that have been said in this website about him. Then I will list a few more links that tell story about him.

This text was taken from my review of his book A History of the Hadiya in Southern Ethiopia:

As you read his work, this scholar’s pioneering contributions to the history of the country and the Hadiya in particular leaves you in awe. He has unearthed treasure troves of lost history of people considered less important in Ethiopian historiography.

Another from the same review:

Scholarly speaking, I feel as though Ulrich Braukämper has single handily leveled the history’s playing field for a significant populations of Ethiopia. Now it is up to other academicians to build upon that foundation. We as Ethiopians are indebted to Ulrich Braukämper.

This text was taken from my review of his book  Fandaanano: The Traditional Socio-Religious System of the Hadiyya in Southern Ethiopia:

No one else would have been able to document this as comprehensively as Braukämper has done given that the system has now ceased to exist. Comprehensiveness aside, no one else would have ever written such a book about Hadiya heritage.

The following quote is from the email I received from an excellent friend of the Hadiya people, Stefan Ritter, who spent many years in Hadiyaland.  He and his wife lived in the Hadiyya Zone — first in Hoommachcho, then in Hosanna from 2005 – 2010. His note regarding Prof. Braukämper’s service as a member of the editorial board of Aethiopica scholarly journal (International Journal of Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies:

Prof. Braukämper was an active member of the editorial board of that journal. Therefore, Prof. Bausi might be able to share additional information about Prof. Braukämper. I expect a rather long obituary on Ulrich in the next volume of “Aethiopica.”

Prof. Braukämper passed away when the same journal was about to publish Aethiopica 21(2018) issue. The Editorial modified its content at the last minute to include the following text (The PDF file is available here):

This Editorial was already closed and almost in print, when we were informed that Ulrich Braukämper, member of the editorial board of AETHIOPICA since 2006, passed away on 26 October 2018. Ulrich Braukämper will be duly commemorated in the next issue. The editorial board, the editorial team, and the director of the journal would like to extend to his family their most sincere condolences for the irreparable loss. AETHIOPICA will miss his precious contribution and scrupulous feed backs that he punctually delivered, with great dedication and generosity, until the last weeks of his life.

Hadiya Journey will bring to you Aethiopica Journa’s commemorative issue when it available.

Here is his WikiPdia Page in German language, but browsers such as Google Chrome will translate it for English readers.

An English summary of his German language interview with Interviews with German Anthropologists magazine is found here. The long German language interview video is found here.  It seems to require Adobe Flash to view the content.

  1. Abbink, J. 2019. In memoriam Ulrich Braukämper (1944–2018) Aethiopica 22 (2019) 246–252. DOI:https://doi.org/10.15460/aethiopica.22.0.1500.

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