Stormy clouds, unpredictable rain and hail, road traffic getting increasingly worse, horrid queues for taxis, muddy roads that hardly ever consider pedestrians, the stifling air of Addis Ababa can feel much worse during kiremt months.
The season is also vacation time for not just schools but many cultural institutions in Addis leading to a waning of activities during the rainy months. Many galleries close during this time of the year, musical events happen less frequently, art, cultural and sports events take place less often.
But these clouds are not without a silver lining. For those determined to beat the summer blues and find adventure, Addis is accommodating. Armed with a strong umbrella, a brisk hike up Entoto mountain or a visit to the Gulele Botanical Gardens can be a great start to an adventurous weekend.
Addis is not short on eateries so whether you decide to grab juice at a nearby shop or have an elaborate meal somewhere fancier, there is no wrong choice. Follow your meal up with a brief visit to Lela Gallery.
Lela Gallery hosts its annual Kiremt Show, a group show of collective works on view throughout the year. The exhibition includes pieces by Behailu Bezabih, Tamrat Gezahegn, Nebiat Abebe, Tewodros Hagos, Dawit Abebe and several others.
For those who had missed exhibitions at Lela this past year, the Kiremt Show offers a glimpse into what had been in store. Tamrat Gezahegn’s pieces from ‘197+ Waiting for the Wind’, a call for nations of the world to come together and solve common problems such as climate change has 7 pieces remaining on display. The show gives you a final chance to view Nebiat Abebe’s ˆTranscending Forms’, works strong and evocative. There is also one work by the talented Belgium-based artist and critic Mulugeta Tafesse, a scene he describes as “gestural imprints from the indescribable mutiny of life”.
Lela Gallery’s quiet grounds and beautiful garden add the contrast of a contemplative atmosphere to the gloom of the season. Alone or in a group, the garden allows visitors to sit and talk for a while.
A visit to Lela might put one in the mood to create one-of-a-kind artworks too. Look no further than Art in Addis, an initiative that offers those passionate or just vaguely interested an evening of wine and painting. The price is a bit steep (700 Birr) but the teachers are different every month and you’ll definitely have something to show for it by the end of the night.
Kiremt is also a monotonous time for children. Luckily there is a growing number of summer camps and activities for kids as well. Fekat Circus has a kiremt program that teaches the circus arts to children of all ages. Sports activities are aplenty in the city including football, basketball and track. Century mall has special programs for kids as well, offering various activities that let parents relax, at least for a while.
Cultural events like the weekly Sem ena Work (Wax and Gold) literary evening at Vamdas Cinema include many prominent figures in Ethiopian theater, media and the arts such as Daniel Kibret, Fekadu Kebede and Bekele Mekonnen.
Mamsha is a unique literary event that combines music, poetry, theater and some warm kiremt food and delicious alcoholic drinks. July’s evening featured literature of the East with emphasis on Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. The evening explored poetry, love and alcohol intoxication with Tej (honey wine/mead) available for attendants.
A great finish to an evening like this can be at the weekly Jazz Session at Villa Verde or at Fendika. Ethiojazz classics are performed live offering a lively, high-note end to a busy day of exploration.