Kitaw Ejigu remembered

Tomorrow, January 13, 2010, is the 5th anniversary of the passing away of Ethiopian scientist and patriot Kitaw Ejigu. Ethiopian Review pays tribute to this great Ethiopian whose life was cut short at a young age.

Brief biography of Dr Kitaw Ejigu (Source: Wikipedia)

Kitaw Ejigu (February 25, 1948 – January 13, 2006) was an Ethiopian-American scientist who worked for NASA as Chief of Spacecraft and Satellite Systems engineer. He was also a political leader.

Kitaw was born in Bonga, Kaffa, Ethiopia. He attended the Miazia 27th High School in Jimma. He then went to Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute, and in 1966, as the top student in his class, he received his diploma in mechanical engineering with specialization in agricultural technology. After graduating from the Institute, Kitaw worked at the Ethiopian Automotive Services and Sales Company (EASSCO) as chief technical advisor and assistant manager for two years.

In 1972, he won a scholarship from the Japanese Overseas Technical Association and traveled to Japan where he studied automotive engineering at Hiroshima University, as well as language and economics at Osaka University. He later moved to the United States and began his intensive research and training and earned an MBA in 1979. He then completed his doctorate in space vehicle systems engineering from Northrop University in California.

Upon completion of his studies and researches in the late 1970s, he started working for NASA as a system engineer and space research scientist. He collaborated with other scientists on the space shuttle and other rocketry projects. Kitaw Ejigu was Ethiopia’s first aerospace scientist. The only Ethiopian in the field, Kitaw also worked for Rockwell International and Boeing.

Apart from his work as an aerospace scientist, he was also known for his efforts to bring about political change in Ethiopia. He publicly denounced the regime in Ethiopia and its actions and policies. Even though he was ambitious about using his knowledge, experience and high-status to help his homeland Ethiopia , he repeatedly said he was not made welcome by the regime. In 2002, he founded a political party, the Ethiopian National United Front, to help overthrow Meles Zenawi’s regime.

Kitaw Ejigu died at the age of 58 on 13 January, 2006 in the United States.

20 comments on “Kitaw Ejigu remembered

  1. koster on

    It is very unfortunate that Ethiopia looses such high caliber Ethiopians. If there were a real Ethiopian Government, such intellectuals from all corners of the world should be invited to contribute to the well-being of their people which is languishing in poverty.

  2. Yohannes on

    It is very sad,mournful and tragic drama losing such a super genius scientist.
    Ethiopia never ever get a man with mega natural capacity like scientist Kitaw Ejigu and the USA as well.RIP OUR HERO….GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL……
    :'(,:'(,:'(….(crying emoticon)

  3. ONE ETHIOPIA on

    we always do remember him and we also do not forget that when a hero passes away a hero will come as we know very well from our own history-remember amoraw gebae and balcha abanefiso.So we do hope that a hero will come soon or later for the unity of our motherland , our holy church and above all our people Ethiopians including eritreans for whom Abdisa aga abrham deboch alula and other genus heroes gave their precious lives.

  4. Gud Ekonew on

    I can say with great sadness that the late professor Asrat Woldeyese and the late Kitawe Ejigu are the big losses for Ethiopia in our time

    Both love their people and Ethiopia and both articulate their love for the country and people in a simple language our people understands.

    We missed them very much.

  5. Anonymous on

    What a shock and heartbreaking news! I didn’t know he passed away, very sad indeed. I used to brag about him that we even have Ethiopians that work for Nasa. My deepest sympathy to his family and his friends. I wonder what the cause of his death was, he was too young to die. It is a mystery and very suspicious why many of our well educated, accomplished, talented entertainers, loved trusted Church leaders, and our brave soldiers are dying and missing one by one. Are Ethiopians being hunted and killed?

  6. K.Bekele on

    The death of Engineer Kitaw was and still is a shock to me. It is like a knife stabbed in my heart and still there for five years now since his death. The only time I will heal is when we cut Zenawi’s throat.

    It is painful to remember him. He was the hope and the light of Ethiopia. When he died, I thought we may be cursed as a generation. And God may be punsihing us for all the evils we may have done.

  7. Tegga Lendado on

    Kitaw’s mysterious death is a shocking loss for me and other close friends who have known him since our teen age at the Polytechnic in Bahar Dar. I hope and pray that our youngsters emulate his professional attainment. May God bless his survivors.

  8. Anonymous on

    K.Bekele,
    I am so sorry for your loss and ours in general. Do you know what he died from?

  9. POSTDOC on

    My eyes are full of tears when I think about this man. It it too much lose to bear!!!!

  10. dawit on

    The lose of of such professional person is sad for the whole content of Africa not only for Ethiopians.

  11. Ad-Ge-Kiya on

    We are still in stress about his death, we believe one day he return to ethiopia with a full hope!! But if he was died the gov’t of USA & ETH. are responsible!!

  12. brook on

    imagine what he could have done if he was alive. we need more Ethiopians like him, we need people who r determined and who knows their culture.

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