Zawde Berhanu was born in Ethiopia in the province of Arsi in the year
1930. He is one of the absolute forerunners of immigrants here in Finland.
He came here as early as 1953 and this means that he has been living here
already for astonishing 65 years!!
He is now 88-years old and is living in Helsinki, Finland. He is a proud
father of two and he has a keen interest in reading newspapers and books,
He was sent to Finland by the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie the 1st.
Having graduated from Addis Abeba Technical School with good grades, Zawde
was granted a scholarship to come to Finland. First he had a chance to
observe the Finnish leather industry in Kiukainen, Western Finland, under
the auspices of engineer Aarne Hellemaa.
After a short while, in a factory called Satanahka, Zawde realized that
leather products are not among his interests. He talked about it with Mr
Hellemaa who listened to Zawde and agreed that if studying to be an
architect is what he wanted, so be it! They stopped talking English
together and so Zawde had one year of very effective studying of Finnish
language. This gave him a solid base as one of the first foreigners to be
able to study in Finnish.
He moved to Espoo, Otaniemi and started to attend the courses of Helsinki
University of Technology as an auditor. After one year his studies really
started. When completing his successful studies he was graduated as an
architect in 1964. This gave him an opportunity to work for the City of
Espoo as an architect working in the field of town planning. He enjoyed his
work there so much so that he worked there until his retirement!
Zawde was also instrumental when the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was
seeking to be established as an official religion in Finland. Zawde being
one of the applicants, the official status was given to this Church in the
year 2004 by the Ministry of Culture.
The life and works of Zawde Berhanu are unique in the history of Finland.
His story should be known by Finnish people in general and more importantly
with those Finns who have their background somewhere else on this planet.
His willingness to study and improve his life conditions by his own actions
is an example to us all.
When asked what is an achievement that Zawde rates high in his life, he
” My age! I am happy that I have lived a healthy life. We all can affect
our health by our choices! “
Deborah is an entrepreneur, inspirational speaker,author, gospel singer,
International Conference Host and also a humanitarian. sheis passionate about providing a secure future to needy people especially inAfrica and moving across the world. She does this through her non profit organization ‘Empowerment of Africanwomen, (D&K Foundation) based in Finland, USA,DRC Congo and Nigeria. She has been active in various activities in both Finland and Africa since 2008.
The origin of EOAW which is a subsequent branchof D&Ks foundation was inspired and sparked by the very personal life andexperiences of Deborah K.Funmi Mupapa. As a young girl she grew up in Nigeria where at a tender age of 12 years she was physically and sexually abused by her step dad. Despite going through all this she always maintained a positive outlook in life.
After several years of emotional healing, Deborah isnow a strong, hopeful and happy woman who is living her life to the fullest.Deborah has a strong desire to help other women in Africa that are undergoingsimilar experiences and are not able to speak out. She has a burning passionand desire to help women a reason why she founded Empowerment of Africa Womenorganization (EOAW) D&Ks foundation. More about
Deborah Funmi Mupapa.
Architect and Town Planner
Composer and songwriter
During his pre-school period, Marie-Alphonse Liwata was living in the traditional society of Likuba people of the Congo. During two years he took the lessons of drumming and healing dances. Therefore the music and the rythm became an important part of his identity.
Liwata accomplished the gymnasium studies in two different lycées. The first school had a classical education, emphasizing on the study of languages, philosophy, religion, history, not leaving much space for mathematics and physics. In the second school the education was more emphasizing on technical education. The aim was to facilitate students to enter in the best universities and to work in various specialized jobs. The education in the gymnasium had a very strong impact in his future.
In I969 Marie-Alphonse Liwata left Congo for Soviet Union. He spent a year to study Russian language in Leningrad and four years in Minsk to study architecture and building construction. In 1974 he went back to Brazzaville and worked as an architect. Five years later he came back to Europe to study architecture in Tampere University of Technology. During and after his studies he worked as architect in several cities in Finland in town planning and architecture offices.
The grant from the Finnish Academy in 1995 for the study of Theories of architecture and Bantu Cultures allowed him to make a research trip for one year in Paris. After his return from France in 1996 back to Finland, he created and run a special course of African architecture and urban cultures at Tampere University of Technology for 16 years. The course was based on a multi-disciplinary teaching. The African urban cultures were the scope of the teaching material. The course became famous receiving exchange students from European and Asian universities. In 1984 Marie-Alphonse Liwata provided a serie of lectures on African healing dance for the students of the University of Tampere, department of Traditons.
Marie-Alphonse Liwata has participated and been invited as lecturer in several seminars where he has been speaking about the African civilisation, emphasizing on the history of urban cultures, philosophy and art, music, the African everyday life and creation of space such as the urban spaces, everyday experience, and the well-being.
Marie-Alphonse Liwata is tirelesly dedicated to African cultures, a multi-instrumentalist and one of the first active African musicians in Finland. Liwata’s music expresses the spirit and roots of African cultures through modern soukous. This music style is based on the Congolese rumba and has strongly influenced other styles of African popular music.