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Famous People From Ethiopia

Updated April 16, 2018 27.7k views265 items

List of famous people from Ethiopia, including photos when available. The people below are listed by their popularity, so the most recognizable names are at the top of the list. Some of the people below are celebrities born in Ethiopia, while others are simply notable locals. If you're from Ethiopia you might already know that these prominent figures are also from your hometown, but some of the names below may really surprise you. This list includes people who were born and raised in Ethiopia, as well as those who were born there but moved away at a young age.

List ranges from Noah Samara to Yemrehana Krestos and more.

If you want to answer the questions, "Which famous people are from Ethiopia?" or "Which celebrities were born in Ethiopia?" then this list is a great resource for you.
  • Haile Selassie

    Dec. at 83 (1892-1975)

    BirthplaceEjersa Goro, Ethiopia

    Haile Selassie I (Ge'ez: ቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ, romanized: qädamawi haylä səllasé, Amharic pronunciation: [ˈhaɪlə sɨlˈlase] (listen); born Lij Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael; 23 July 1892 – 27 August 1975) was...  more

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    #727 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#309 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • Abraham Verghese

    Age: 65

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Abraham Verghese (born 1955) is an American physician, author, Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University Medical School and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of...  more
  • Siad Barre

    Dec. at 76 (1919-1995)

    BirthplaceShilavo, Ethiopia

    Jaalle Mohamed Siad Barre (Somali: Jaale Maxamed Siyaad Barre; Arabic: محمد سياد بري‎; October 6, 1919 – January 2, 1995) was a Somali politician who served as the President of the Somali Democratic...  more
  • BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Julie Mehretu (born 1970 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a contemporary visual artist, well known for her multi-layered paintings of abstracted landscapes on a large scale. Her paintings, drawings, and...  more
  • Wilfred Thesiger

    Dec. at 93 (1910-2003)

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger (3 June 1910 – 24 August 2003), also known by his Arabic name Mubarak bin London (Arabic: مُبَارَك بِن لَنْدَن‎, the blessed one of London) was a British military...  more
  • BirthplaceJimma, Ethiopia

    Mulatu Astatke (Amharic: ሙላቱ አስታጥቄ; French pronunciation: Astatqé; born 19 December 1943) is an Ethiopian musician and arranger considered as the father of Ethio-jazz. Born in the western Ethiopian...  more
  • BirthplaceGondar, Ethiopia

    Haile Gerima (born March 4, 1946) is an Ethiopian filmmaker who lives and works in the United States. He is a leading member of the L.A. Rebellion film movement, also known as the Los Angeles School...  more
  • Bakri Sapalo

    Dec. at 85 (1895-1980)

    BirthplaceHarar, Ethiopia

    Sheikh Bakri Sapalo (born Abubakar Garad Usman; November 1895 - 5 April 1980) was an Oromo scholar, poet and religious teacher. He is best known as the inventor of a writing system for the Oromo...  more
  • BirthplaceArsi Province, Ethiopia

    Maryam Yusuf Jamal (Arabic: مريم يوسف جمال‎) (born Zenebech Tola) (born 16 September 1984) is a Bahraini middle-distance runner. She is the first Bahraini athlete to win an Olympic medal, a gold...  more
  • BirthplaceEthiopia

    Genzeb Shumi Regasa is an Ethiopian-born middle distance runner who competes internationally for Bahrain. She won the 1500 metres gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in 2011 and the Asian...  more
  • BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Dinaw Mengestu (born 30 June 1978) is an Ethiopian-American novelist and writer. In addition to three novels, he has written for Rolling Stone on the war in Darfur, and for Jane Magazine on the...  more
  • BirthplaceBekoji

    Tirunesh Dibaba, also known as Tirunesh Dibaba Kenene, (Amharic: ጥሩነሽ ዲባባ ቀነኒ; born 1 June 1985) is an Ethiopian athlete who competes in long distance track events and international road races. She...  more

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    #408 of 1,316 The Best Athletes Of All Time#59 of 234 The Best Female Athletes of All Time

  • BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Vikram Chatwal (born November 1, 1971 in Addis Ababa) is an American hotelier and actor....  more
  • BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Elvan Abeylegesse, (also formerly: Hewan Abeye (አልቫን አበይለገሠ, Amharic) and Elvan Can (Turkish); born September 11, 1982) is an Ethiopian-born Turkish middle and long-distance running athlete who...  more
  • BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Birtukan Mideksa (also spelled Birtukan Midekssa; Ge'ez: ብርቱካን ሚደቅሳ; born 1974) is an Ethiopian politician and former judge who was the founder and leader of the opposition party, the Unity for...  more
  • Zera Yacob Amha Selassie

    Age: 67

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Zera Yacob Amha Selassie, Crown Prince of Ethiopia (; Ge'ez ዘርአ ያዕቆብ አምሃ ሥላሴ) (born 17 August 1953) is the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie and son of Emperor-in-Exile Amha Selassie of Ethiopia. He...  more
  • BirthplaceOgaden, Ethiopia

    Said Sheikh Samatar (Somali: Saciid Sheekh Samatar, Arabic: سعيد الشيخ سمتر‎‎; 1943–24 February 2015) was a prominent Somali scholar and writer....  more
  • BirthplaceBishoftu, Ethiopia

    Berhanu Nega, Ph.D. (born December 6, 1958) is an Ethiopian politician and activist. He was the mayor elect of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the 2005 Ethiopian general elections. He is a founding chairman...  more
  • Ashenafi Kebede

    Dec. at 60 (1938-1998)

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Ashenafi Kebede (Amharic: አሸናፊ ከበደ; 1938 – May 8, 1998) was an Ethiopian composer, conductor, ethnomusicologist, historical musicologist, music educator, novelist, and poet....  more
  • Sofia Assefa

    Age: 32

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Sofia Assefa (Amharic: ሶፍአ አሠፋ; born 14 November 1987 in Tenta, South Wollo) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specializes in the 3000 metres steeplechase. She was the silver medalist at the...  more
  • Dejen Gebremeskel

    Age: 30

    BirthplaceTigray, Ethiopia

    Dejen Gebremeskel is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who primarily competes in track events. His personal best of 12:46.81 minutes for the 5000 metres ranks him as the fifth fastest of all time for...  more
  • Mulugeta Seraw

    Dec. at 28 (1960-1988)

    BirthplaceDebre Tabor, Ethiopia

    Mulugeta Seraw (Amharic: ስራው ሙሉጌታ, Seraw Mulugeta; October 21, 1960 – November 13, 1988) was an Ethiopian student who went to the United States to attend college. Seraw was killed in November 1988,...  more
  • Yohannes Haile-Selassie

    Age: 59

    BirthplaceAdigrat, Ethiopia

    Yohannes Haile-Selassie Ambaye (born on (1961-02-23)23 February 1961 in Adigrat, Tigray Region) is an Ethiopian paleoanthropologist. An authority on pre-Homo sapiens hominids, he particularly focuses...  more
  • Azeb Mesfin

    Azeb Mesfin Haile is the widow of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. She is the founder and patron of Ethiopia's National Initiative for Mental Health. In early 2009, she was appointed CEO of the...  more
  • Nikos Papatakis

    Dec. at 92 (1918-2010)

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Nico Papatakis (Greek: Νίκος Παπατάκης; 5 July 1918 – 17 December 2010) was a Greek- Ethiopian-born naturalised French filmmaker, who lived in France....  more