Tebereh's Shop (2003) is a remarkable novel written in Tigrinya, an important Horn of Africa literary language spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia. It was written by Beyene Haile, an Eritrean novelist-cum-painter-cum-sculptor, who, though less known outside Africa, is regarded by his critics as one of the continent's major writers, contemporarily publishing in indigenous languages. The novel deals with the role of African intellectuals in the trajectory of nation-building and is framed within the context of political and economic adversity created by war and domestic repression. Published after three years of the end of the 1998–2000 border conflict between the neighboring countries of Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the Eritrean government's subsequent deferral of the constitution, closure of the free press, and detention of its political opponents, the novel paints a highly controversial image of intellectuals while at the same time charting a newly fangled and brilliant, even where it is romantic, task for them.


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pp. 1-15
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