Forenji Olivia Wyatt 40 Comments

Ethiopia from olivia wyatt on Vimeo.

Filmmaker Olivia Wyatt went to Ethiopia to document the music of 13 different tribes for her a film on tribal Music on Ethiopia.

Along with the film, she took some Polaroid’s of her experiences with the locals. The shots somehow found my inbox via two sources. See more on pages 46-54!

I thought they were very worthy of note, and well fairly re-emphasizes my claim about photography that the camera doesn’t matter.

More searching online, I found the below quote story,

One night I took a mini-bus 12 hours north of Addis to witness a Zar spirit possession on a hyena-invested mountain. We left at 3 a.m. from Addis Ababa. On my bus there was a Muslim woman, a catholic priest, a six-year-old boy, and other adults. I fell asleep, but awoke at 4:30 am to p

olice men with guns at my window. Directly behind them, a mini-bus was completely turned over and the police were angry that we were traveling illegally at night, so they took us all to a tiny jail in the mountains and we were told we had to stay there until sunrise.

Everyone was staring at me; they would look in my direction and whisper and laugh, or some just stared, even the police. I decided to just go and talk to the police. I asked them questions about their life and told them what New York might be like at 4 a.m. and the next thing I know, they let us go. The entire bus was chanting “forenji, forenji, forenji!” [foreigner]. Source!

Indeed Forenji! The only thing is that she thinks Forenji means foreigner, it does and it doesn’t the origin is actually not foreigner but French and its used to describe white people not all foreigners. I think!

But what a story , and what great photos!

40 Responses to “Forenji Olivia Wyatt”

  1. 1 biskut

    minim algebagnim ….

  2. 2 Nolawi

    did you read the story?

  3. 3 endalc

    to day. im sik .firends conterbiut. meny .for my medicetion . god bles al our firends .because .some people took with 24 houre.with give a few time even .one secend ..after a few secend .she is man sound .i nver seem eny bing ,this is my cause .i ve 5 .years ago .meby i ve one menth ago .i ve one week rest .a night mornning .evnning . i hear bad .word .he she send fersturetion . im afeard to that .bad sond

  4. 4 SelamT

    I say eyeww, eyeww!

    The hyena licking the guy is so disgasting!

    T feel hyena are the ugliest animal on earth.

  5. 5 mesraq

    Great Photos.

  6. 6 Mek

    nice article. cool music.

  7. 7 sam

    Ferenji doesn’t even mean French. It is not an Amharic transliteration of the word “French”. It is an older word borrowed from Arabic which in that language refers to European or white people. The Arabic form may even come from another language, I don’t recall at this point….

  8. 8 Nolawi

    @ sam:
    actually sam i am quite sure.. the french comes from the word french… which was used to describe white…

    refer to this page here

  9. 9 helen

    @ sam:
    @ Nolawi:
    You are both right. I was curious about the origin of the word when I read Salmon Rusdie, in his books, refer to foreigners as Ferengi in Hindi.

    “In the 10th century, the Old French Franc was borrowed into Arabic as faranji, where it was used to refer to European traders. This was possibly borrowed into Persian as farangi, and then into Hindi-Urdu as farang? (??????? ??????), romanized as firangi, ferengi or feringhee,….” I think this is where we got the word as well.

  10. 10 endalc

    .will i ll ask you for this .zar sprite . behave. you
    know .i ve 4 years ago .im hear .sound .some people took with me .but he is not.stand .my front .i never see bing.phisically .24 houres he is speaking with he is chenge . by women sytail .sound.women. jest devilsm .sprite . i afect with eny one without .resien .but i doent .made something.i doent .know how to can solive .until .im live with this bad sprite .no solition. so if you ve eny aidea please idvaice.
    .he like leaivt alone.please me my berien. is not creat something a problem .so i doent know what shall. i shuod .that thing i leaivt al ways thinkink
    but know .i ve plan .retern in ethiopia . make holy tsevel. i blive i will get good hell . my health .
    .im not semoker. i dident this much luke drink.alcol.
    im verey ager .long time espended . with my lover .but by this cause .im not hold. grilfirend .
    please tray give me word .of bible .thank. you

  11. 11 Mohammed

    One forenji saved the whole passengers from the police harassment, just like the avatar movie. Interesting!!!

  12. 12 anonx


    One god is all it takes…

  13. 13 Tobian

    ” … the police were angry that we were traveling illegally at night, so they took us all to a tiny jail in the mountains and we were told we had to stay there until sunrise.”

    in any country foreigners usually have interetsing perspectives. but sometimes, especially when they don’t understand what’s going on around them, they also write some weird stuff.

    like, when exactly was it illegal to travel at night in Ethiopia? Was this written pre 1990s, during Dergue curfew times? And even back then, the punishment for breaking curfew laws was being kept in what sounds like yeqebele jail till sunrise? sounds sweet, if u ask me.

  14. 14 Mamitu

    “in any country foreigners usually have interetsing perspectives. but sometimes, especially when they don’t understand what’s going on around them, they also write some weird stuff.”

    Right you are, one has to only read James Bruce’s version of Ethiopia to find out how wierd the understanding of foreigners in a country can be. I remember reading how “Abyssinyans ate the flesh of a live cow, and had orgies” in his book, years ago. (I kid you not). I guess if we want truth to be told we’ve got to write our own history books.

  15. 15 anonx


    Its interesting you brought that up: I read I forget his name but the book is Cry Wolf, fiction written in 1977 on the Italian invation. Full of typical white hero and African savage acts, as well as guiltless free sex. I had to stop on that one and laugh so hard. Because all the talk of sex in the book was in contrast to western association of guilt and sex. Sample:

    Ethiopian woman: I will have 20 before I settle:
    Wester woman: Why 20 and not 24, 25…
    EW: Oh, then people will talk and think of me as slut

  16. 16 Ene

    Just a heads up, Ferinja in Arabic means European, they use the word to refer to white Europeans. Maybe the amharic version originated from ancient Arabic?

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    I most certainly will be incorporating this to my list of social book marks.

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  1. 1 Forenji Olivia Wyatt :™ | African T-Shirts | Breakings New
  2. 2 Global Voices Online » Ethiopia: Trailer for upcoming film on Ethiopian music

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