By Elias Gebreselassie
Africa’s first female pilot Muluembet Emiru was a pioneer ahead of her time having started airplane flying in 1934, a profession that was short cut by the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.
Barring some articles written about her in Ethiopian Airlines flagship magazine Selamta in the 1980s, few interviews she gave before her death nearly two decades ago and Enat bank branch named after her, Muluembet has largely faded from memory for Ethiopia’s younger generation.
However, her grandson Aman Adinew is planning to inform to the younger generation her pioneering courage possibly with a book detailing her life and careers.
“Motivated by aviation tales from female US aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, Muluembet a daughter of noble family did aviation training with Emperor Hailelassie’s blessing and had planned to start commercial flights made impossible by Fascist Italy invasion” Aman told Ethiopia News Flash.
At a time when the issue of women was not even worth a news headline, Muluemebet showed, not in theory, but by doing it herself, and in spite of prevailing attitudes that women were not capable of doing anything, he further said.
“I have always stated that determination and courage are virtues I learned from my grandmother. I am proud to be her grandson as well as to have known her… she was an amazing lady,” Aman reminisced about his grandmother.
“Her determination inspires me and my siblings to this day to pursue our dreams, and try new things which may be outside of the established view.”
Muluemebet raised nine children – eight daughters and a son – with her spouse Lij Zewde Kidanewold.
After the war ended, Muluemebet and her husband got into many businesses ventures including, Ras Mekonnen bar in Piazza (Ethiopia’s first night club that featured the first Italian musical band), a winery and later coffee farming in Harar until the end of Emperor Haile-Selassie’s regime in 1974.
Following on his grandparents’ footsteps Aman who worked for years in the aviation industry in the US is now a Coffee investor in Ethiopia a venture he started together with his wife renowned Ethiopian singer Aster Awoke.