Finding Selam Finding Selam tells the incredible story of a 23-year-old woman from an upper-class family who became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party in the 1970s.
Idealistic and in love, Sally was caught up in her country’s revolutionary fervour and landed on the military government’s most wanted list. She went underground and her family never saw her again.
Four decades later, filmmaker Tamara Mariam Dawit investigates her aunt’s mysterious life. She revisits the Ethiopian revolution “Red Terror”, a period of violence, upheaval and mass killings that took aim at a generation of youth.
Finding Selam - A Film by Tamara Mariam Dawit
Sally was an aristocrat, a dignitary’s daughter, and an Embassy brat. Her father’s posting as an Ethiopian diplomat meant that the family lived in various countries before settling in Canada in 1968. Selamawit Dawit – Sally to her friends – went to Carleton University in Ottawa and was a bright, outgoing young student with many friends and hopeful suitors. In the summer of 1973, Sally traveled to Ethiopia on holiday. She never came back.
In a few short months, Sally’s life changed drastically. She went from being a party girl obsessed with clothes and perfume to a communist and women’s group leader who gave speeches against the Ethiopian government. Finding Sally website
Only released in April 2020, Finding Sally was shown earlier this month as part of Film Africa 2020. Al Jazeera are showing a 47 minute television version of the film as part of their Witness Series, the full version is 118 minutes long.
Al Jazeera Witness: Season 14, Episode 24 - First shown 11 November 2020 Finding Sally
A Film by Tamara Mariam Dawit
Catbird Films, 2020, English/Amharic with English subtitles