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YE WONZ MAIBEL: Deluge (1997)



DELUGE was shot on location in Ethiopia. Production took place between 1991 and 1995.


Salem Mekuria

Mark Gunning, Salem Mekuria


Eric Neudel, Dan Nutu


Additional credits available upon request.
For distribution please contact

YE WONZ MAIBEL: DELUGE is a personal visual meditation on history, conflict and the roads to reconciliation. It is a tale of love and betrayal, of idealism and the lure of power. It is a memorial to a brother who disappeared and a best friend, executed. It is a story of the Ethiopian students, their “Revolution” and its aftermath – a brutal military dictatorship.


In making Ye Wonz Maibel: Deluge, I wanted to contemplate on the role of the individual in perpetuating national tragedies, be it famine, war or political terror, by re-visiting family tragedies in my home, Ethiopia. Focusing my lens on and searching through my own history, I sought personal experiences that illuminated universal truths. What motivates us to love or to destroy? What turns good to evil, nobility to cowardice, and vision to nightmare? Where do the ranges in-between reside? I have no answers but I offer this work as a tool for looking back to get a sense of how we can look forward to a future in which responsibility and choice inform our conduct.


FORMAT: 16mm, beta – digital and SP, VHS
LENGTH: 61:07, 69:00
Year Released: 1996, 1997



Channel Four Television, England, 1997, South African Broadcasting Corp., 2000, scheduled for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp., 2001



Heart of Festival, Vermont International Film Festival, ’98;
First Place, the National Black Programming Consortium’s Prized Pieces ’97;
Director’s Citation, in the Black Maria Film & Video Festival, ’97.

Festivals & Screenings:

Maskal Square Outdoor screening, 2004; Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Hall, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2004; CinemAfrica, Stockholm and Goteborg, Sweden, 2003, 2004; Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 2003; Documenta 11, New Delhi, India, 2001; The House of Film Culture, Berlin, Germany; the 6th New York African Film Festival at the Lincoln Center, New York City; Zanzibar International Film Festival; Edge of Awareness – WHO Anniversary World Arts Festival in Geneva, New York, Sao Paolo and New Delhi; Vermont International Film Festival; Amnesty International Film Festival, Amsterdam; African Film Now, Toronto; Deutches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt; the Contemporary African Diaspora Film Festival, New York; CinemaAfrica, Zurich; the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa; African Film Festival, Tokyo; Festival of African Cinema, FESPACO, Burkina Faso; Urban World Film Festival, NY; the Fourth International Women’s Film Festival, Minsk, Belarus; the Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, USA; Oakland Museum, Oakland, USA; the 4th Annual International Festival of Women’s Cinema, Boston, USA; the Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles, USA; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.

Press Quotes:

“Ye Wonz Maibel… is an oddly soothing work… (Mekuria’s) is not a war-correspondent’s refusal to engage her subject, nor a polemicist’s habit of transforming proximate anguish into grand metaphor. The film’s strength lies in its devotion to the impact of large scale events on small, human clusters. ” Matthew Debord, Nka, Journal of Contemporary African Art, No. 9, 1998


“In Ye Wonz Maibel: DELUGE, Mekuria’s deeply felt, intelligent visual essay…, she creates a tapestry seemingly as complicated as Ethiopia itself.” Boston Globe, February 7, 1997.


“In DELUGE, Salem Mekuria weaves the facts, souvenirs and archive images together to rediscover a family history that is also the history of her country. A magnificent film.” Revue Noire, 62, 1997.


"Ye Wonz Maibel: DELUGE… is not some impersonal documentary…. Salem enters Ethiopian archives as if it were a family album. With a casual style of elegant familiarity, she shows us the pictures… pictures in the mind that do not fade easily.” Moyo Okediji, Ethiopian Review, July 1996.


“In DELUGE, memory is a path to healing and origin, ….It presents memory as a powerful force in establishing and maintaining origin as a strand in the cord of identity.” Sheila Petty, Univ. of Regina, in “The Archeology of Memory: Transnational Visions of Africa in a Borderless Cinema”, a forthcoming book.

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