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Jolly Berd Aiyferam

Part III
Jolly Berd Aiyferam
In the 1930’s, the world was in chaos and in the midst of World War II, the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had occupied much of Ethiopia.  During his occupation, a legend was born on the streets of Addis that turned into a cultural phenomenon.  This is the birth of “Jolly Berd-Aiyferam” or “Jolly Fearless of the Cold”.

The word Jolly comes from the old Middle English or Old French word Joli or Jolie; which means beautiful.  Among many definitions, the dictionary also defines Jolly [jol-ee] as pleasurable excitement, especially from or as if from something forbidden or improper; thrills, kicks.

And so it was, during this time in Ethiopia, Mussolini had set up the city of Addis Ababa with strict segregation laws between Italians and Ethiopians.  Of course, many Italians themselves did not agree with Mussolini and his rules and hence discreetly immersed themselves within the community and the people of Ethiopia, the law however remained unchanged.

One of the many places that remained segregated was the Piassa Strip just outside Arat Kilo.  Here in the Piassa, only the Italians were allowed to enjoy the shops, the movie cinemas and the fine dining restaurants located throughout the strip.

But when the sun would set, a new breed of young bold men began to surface on the streets of Piassa.  They were known as the bad boys or also the wild cards…the jokers.  And though it was forbidden, they had no care in the world but to enter the world of Jolly…the Jollynation!

And who could blame them, they wanted to see Western Cinema in the Cinema Empire, they wanted to see the shops and all the fancy things in them, they wanted everything but hand nothing but a dream.  And no matter how much they longed to enter the Jollynation or watch Indians VS Cowboys on the big screen, no one ever let them in, no one ever cared.  But they were always outside, sometimes evading the police and lurking in the shadows.

It didn’t matter if it was raining, if there was a storm, even if it was freezing cold…these wild cards were always out there waiting for their time.  And so it was, the third legend was born…they became known as “Jolly Berd Aiyferam” or “Jolly Fearless of the Cold.”  Today, here in Ethiopia (especially within the city limits) anyone with brash confidence and bravado and a little bit of edge with a determination to reach his or her goal no matter what, is known as “Jolly Berd Aiyferam” or “Jolly Fearless of the Cold.”



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The Jolly Legend

The Jolly Legend
Part I
Jolly Zenachew
In the 1930’s, the world was in chaos and in the midst of World War II, the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had occupied much of Ethiopia.  During his occupation, a legend wa  .... Read More

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Jolly Arada

Part II
Jolly Arada
In the 1930’s, the world was in chaos and in the midst of World War II, the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had occupied much of Ethiopia.  During his occupation, a legend was born on the streets of Addis that turne  .... Read More


 
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