Private Project

Dehai [Tidings]

Based on true events, Dehai, shows part of the life of the common Eritreans experience living under the enemy controlled areas. The determination and enthusiasm to intercept news of their freedom fighters under great scrutiny.
An unnamed mother and father secure their home and scan radio frequencies in search of news from the battlefield. Being caught listening to the radio for information, often from the radio outpost, Voice of the Masses, was punishable by death. The news is shared with trusted and loved ones by traveling to one another and quietly disseminating updates— with no room to enthusiasm as it might result to capture. Another set of parents make a long journey into the war zone to find out the whereabouts of their children. Freedom fighters, known in Eritrean culture as Tegadelti, would rarely give out any information about their comrades to such families, especially if the news was of death. The parents return to their home unsuccessful and without any concrete information.
Time passes, and characters find out about the war ending through their neighbors rushing to their homes with news of their soldiers returning triumphantly and reclaiming the capital city of Asmara. The mother runs into the street to join the crowds welcoming their soldiers. And the father returns to the home and turns the radio on.

  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 41 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 6, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    4,800 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography

Nahom Abraham is an Eritrean filmmaker based in Asmara. He is a self-taught filmmaker and Dehai is his second short film. His first short film, Mestyat/Mirror (2017), screened at the Manyatta in Kenya, as a part of an international showcase of East African short films.
Nahom’s filmmaking is informed in part by the exploration of communication in post-colonial cultures. He remembers growing up with his grandmother speaking in hushed tones, and Dehai is inspired by the experiences that may have contributed to these realities. Nahom is a Mineral Processing Engineering graduate from the Eritrean Institute of Technology and is currently developing his debut feature length script.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

During the Eritrean War for Independence, many Eritrean youths left their families and life under oppressive colonial rule to join the revolution and fight. When families would travel to find their loved ones, they were navigating war zones, hiding from check points, and asking for information without any assurances that their journeys would be fruitful. As a culture, the Tegadelti (a term of reverence to describe veterans of the Eritrean war for Independence) would not tell parents if their children were martyred to preserve hope in civilians. They would often give arbitrary updates of soldiers being in other locations as their standard response. Additionally, as a culture, Eritreans describe death of Tegadelti as martyrdom. “He/she died” is expressed as “He/ she was martyred “. And the lucky parents who would find their children would enjoy the company of Tegadelti and gain news of the revolution first hand. Radio was a critical part of the daily lives of Eritrean civilians. People follow the news with vigilance in consuming the media at low volumes and with discretion, even though there was jamming attempts. Caught up following the voice of masses was a life to death decision by the merciless military regime (DERG). People who would get news shared their hopes tacitly with one another. In Dehai, I hope to explore how it feels to deprive the freedom of expressing emotions and thoughts – the basic human rights.