The original Woyane were first Tigrayan farmers who revolted against Haile Sellasie regime in 1943. The literal meaning of “Woyane” in Amharic is ‘revolt, rebel, rebellious’.
Opponents of freedom, justice, and federalism always try to put derogatory tone on the use of the term “Woyane” to associate it with outlaws, instead of the correct meaning and history as one of the true popular uprisings.
Woyane or Weyane (Ge’ez: ወያነ) was a revolt in the Tigray province of Ethiopia in 1943 against the centralization policies of Emperor Haile Sellasie.
The woyanti issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of Mekelle which stated, inter alia: Our governor is Jesus Christ… And our flag that of Ethiopia. Our religion is that of Yohannes IV. People of Tigray, follow the motto of Weyane.
The Objectives of Woyane
Their proclamation after liberating Mekelle had five main points.
1- Autonomous self-administration under Ethiopian flag and unity
2- Administration by Tigrayan Customary laws
3- Appointment of one’s own leaders free of domination by Shoan Imperial elite
4- Eradication of thieves and bandits (shiftas)
5- Objection to payment of excessive taxation and payment to appointee of the Emperor
Leaders of the Woyane rebellion of 1943 in Tigray
H.E. Fitawrari Yeebio Woldai (Wedi Weldai), b. Samre-Enderta, Tigray. Chief leader and commander of the 1943 woyane rebellion in Tigray
H.E. Dejazamtch Negusse Bezabih, b. Da’ Meskel-Mekelle, Enderta, Tigray. Top leader and commander of the 1943 woyane rebellion in Tigray
H.E. Bashay Gugsa Mengesha, b. Adi-seleste, Hintalo-Enderta, Tigray. Top leader and commander of the 1943 woyane rebellion in Tigray.
H.E. Blata Hailemariam Reda, b. Dandera-Enderta, Tigray. Commander of the 1943 woyane rebellion in Tigray.