Soft opening of the ‘Tsegereda Garden’

Posted on January 16, 2024

On December 4th, 2023, the Tsegereda Garden, a testament to Addis Ababa University’s rich heritage and vibrant spirit, held its soft opening, warmly welcoming a select group of invited guests.

The afternoon unfolded, as invited guests sat on the lawn with marked anticipation. The event commenced with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a symbolic act and a gesture that marked Heritage Watch Association had reached a tangible headway of its project ‘The palace and its garden Valorized’. This historical garden rehabilitation project was made possible by the partnership with Addis Ababa University and with the generous funding from the British Council and facilitated by the International National Trust Organization (INTO). Additional support and funding was granted by Bath Spa University.

Our honored guests, Dr. Samuel Kifle, the interim president of Addis Ababa University, and Wozerit Bezawit Damtew, the Arts Director of the British Council in Addis Ababa led the way into the the Tsegereda Garden, which is not just as a physical space, but can serve as a bridge between history, culture, and the future of the Business and Economics campus.

Forty to sixty guests, a mix of friends of Heritage Watch and representatives from various government and civil society organizations, were among the first to experience the garden. Dr. Samuel, Woizeret Bezawit, Esther Sellassie Antohin, Heritage Watch Charity Association Founding Director, and Dr. Hailu Elias, the Dean of the School of Business and Economics respectively delivered a welcoming speech. This was followed by a tour of the garden carried out by Heritage Watch Association Master Gardener as well as the team members. Each team member was involved in giving a description of the different sections of the garden.

The tour showcased the thematic and essential features of the garden. Starting with the Royal Family Collection at the top of the slope, then moving to the far right and back of the space to the Ato Sebhatu Wolde Eyes Collection. The tour moved along the back towards the drought resistant and tuber plants and dotted with Ethiopian signature plants such as Coffee and Inset (false Banana tree). The tour then moved further to the back left side of the garden following the soft path to the Rain Garden. Finally, the centerpiece of the garden, the ‘Tsegereda roundabout’ came into view as the tour winded down. While the large group of guests meandered through the winding paths, the vibrant blooms, and the splashes of the water features added to the spectacle. The garden, designed to reflect Ethiopian urban horticulture and measures to withstand climate change, offered a stunning landscaping panoramic space by also setting a new trend at Addis Ababa University students’ recreational area.

But the Tsegereda Garden is more than just a pretty space. It’s a living cultural and natural heritage which aims to repurpose a piece of forgotten historical garden into a functional and economically viable outlet for the college community as well as help boost the city-wide tourism. Moreover, this recreational area is also designed to facilitate educational programs and community events that promise to make the garden a vibrant hub for learning, exchange, and celebration.

The Tsegereda Garden has only just begun to bloom. But with its deep roots in the past and its verdant embrace of the future, it promises to be a cherished landmark for generations to come, a testament to the enduring spirit of both Addis Ababa the Capital city and the University.