Addis Ababa, May 21, 2012 - Ethiopian Television, not usually well-known
for reflecting the prevalent issues within the society, seems to have
struck a chord with ‘Sew Le Sew’ a soap opera style TV drama. The
popularity of the show has increased with every episode aired after the
9:00pm evening news on Wednesdays for more than a year.
people have different reasons for watching the show, but most agree that
they watch every week captivated by the portrayal of issues of
corruption and social injustice that have for so long festered under the
“It may seem exaggerated to some but others see a lot of truth in the
twists in the plot. Ato Asenake, played by Abebe Balcha, is a character
who symbolizes the power of money and stratagems in a relatively
unsophisticated society like ours,” said Robel who is a committed fan of
“The character is one of great contrasts and, although
most of what he does is evil and he is the obvious villain of the show,
it is very hard not to be attracted by his charismatic personality, his
intense pride and his creative flair,” according to Robel.
unique talent shown by the actor playing the character makes ‘Asenake’
standout and attract admiration even over and against those characters
intended to be heroic and admirable, he concluded.
Dawit agrees with Robel’s assessment. The other characters in the show
simply don’t measure up to the supreme acting ability shown by Abebe and
his unique talent is really the secret behind the success enjoyed by
the character and to a certain extent the show itself, theorizes Dawit.
is not a question of whether the character is realistic or if there are
actually people like him in Ethiopia. The character is popular because
he embodies the perception of crime and corruption and allows people to
voice their anger and resentment at such practices,” according to Dawit.
is a definite social awareness of the distressing levels of corruption,
nepotism and criminal activity that sadly characterizes some elements
of business in the country and while most reject such practices, others
see it as only pragmatic. Ato Asenake thus appeals to both those who are
happy that his type of corruption is being exposed and to others who
are impressed by the level of shrewdness they see in him,” concludes
“The show is over dramatic and completely unrealistic,” disagrees Rahel who doesn’t see any merit the plot involving Asenake.
real attraction to the show is Sosina (played by Hanna Yohannes).
Sosina is a fascinating character who is completely different to the
other female characters. The other women are stereotypical
characterizations of what many consider an Ethiopian woman should be:
beautiful, tearful and slightly stupid. Sosina on the other hand is very
intelligent, quirky and an independent, liberated, modern woman,” said
The plot as far as it pertains to Sosina is the only
unique and interesting element of the show concludes Rahel. The secret
to the success of Sew le Sew is that it has something for everyone
according to another fan, Ato Alem.
“Sew le Sew has something for
every taste. It has action and intrigue in Asenake, it has romance and
star struck lovers in Mede and Biruck, and it has comedy in Sosina. The
totality of the show however can sometimes be confusing because it is
unclear how the different plot lines relate to each other, but I hope
that the writers will be able to bring it all together successfully,” he
The show’s weakness lies in that it creates unrealistic
characters that are completely one-sided. The ‘good guys’ are completely
good with no faults in their character and are thus are very hard to
relate to. The ‘bad’ characters too are drawn solely as evil to the
point of being satirical,” explained Temesgen a freelance journalist.
Mesfin (Zenahebizu Tsegaye) for example is not even tempted by the
clearly lucrative deals that Asenake is engaged in nor does his inhuman
integrity allow him to even consider making compromises to save his
family. Such a characterization is not only unrealistic but makes the
character very hard to relate to,” according to Temesgen. The same sort
of super human integrity and character can also be seen in Frezer
(played by Solomon Bogale) he noted.
It may have been better to
allow Asenake a redeeming quality at least in his personal relationship
if he is to be a complete villain in his business life, said Temesgen.
first year of Sew Le Sew has managed to earn it a large group of fans
that has allowed it characters to become popular icons. The latest
twists in the plot are topics of discussions over the course of the week
at different venues ranging from public transport to the office. It is
to be hoped that the show is able to retain and even improve on the
quality of its script to keep the following that it has managed to