No One's Son
a memoir by Tewodros Fekadu
My Africa has stretched my heart in all ways but one. And that
one needed a miracle, which was a long time in coming.
Would a child of the devil have coped better with the life I’d
been dealt? Some named me Satan’s child. Others told me that
life’s challenges are determined by God’s will. If there are gods of
irony, they must have been greatly entertained by the mad twists of
fate I’ve endured.
Listen to an interview with Tewodros Fekadu on the Leonard Lopate Show, June 25, 2012
“An affirmation of life and the indestructibility of one man’s will to make the most of it.”
—Ian Wynne, author of The Pawn and Shadows by My Side, former editor of Amnesty International’s Human Rights Defender
"The spare writing tells an eloquent story.... Set against vicious conflicts across borders and within local streets, the moving prose and local idioms make universal connections." --Booklist
"A remarkable memoir for any international autobiography and memoir collection." --Midwest Book Review
How a documentary filmmaker named for an emperor became who he is
WATCH the book trailer (Australian edition)
Read an article in the Buffalo News
Born in the midst of the Ethiopian-Eritrean Civil War, Tewodros “Teddy” Fekadu survives abandonment and famine as his family flings him unwanted across borders and regions, into orphanages, and finally onto the streets of Addis Ababa. Spanning five countries and three continents, the Catholic Church and Japanese detention centers, this is a tale of defiance and triumph, and also of family love—unacknowledged by his wealthy father, abandoned by his desperately poor mother, Teddy is nurtured along the way by staunch individuals despite his ambiguous place in rigid family tradition: his father’s mother, a maternal aunt, a priest, and even his father’s wife.
In 2003, after three years in a Japanese detention center, Teddy Fekadu won a hard-fought immigration battle, and his visa to Australia was approved. He now resides on the Gold Coast, where he founded an association that shares African traditions and heritage through performance and educational programs. He also works with organizations to resettle African refugees to the Gold Coast. He is an inspirational speaker, presenting to such diverse audiences as adoptive families, human rights groups, schools, and East African immigrants. Tewodros’ company, Moonface Entertainment, produces films and documentaries on East Africa. He regularly returns to Africa to shoot footage for his projects, and travels to the United States to promote his work.
LISTEN to Teddy on ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler, Feb. 3, 2011 (Audio, 50 minutes)
WATCH a short clip from the documentary “Finding Home”
"At more than 500 pages, this memoir looks intimidating, but the spare writing tells an eloquent story of one Ethiopian man’s experience of cruelty, displacement, and rejection, but also courage, kindness, love, and success. A child of rape, abandoned by his desperate teenage mother, and rejected and tricked by his physician father, Tewodros (“Teddy”) Fekadu struggles to survive on the streets, helped by his grandma, kind stepmother, and always by the church, as civil war rages. He crosses the border to Egypt, and then, on a visitor’s visa to Japan, he is arrested as an illegal and detained under horrendous conditions for nearly three years, until he falls in love with a young Australian and finally gets a visa to her country, and they marry. Set against vicious conflicts across borders and within local streets, the moving prose and local idioms make universal connections. Returning home to Ethiopia, Fekadu finds that “Nothing had changed, but me. . . . And that means everything would be different.”"
“One of the great examples of the gift of the refugee came when I met Tewodros Fekadu in Brisbane a few years back—during the previous battle with the demons of White Australian bigotry surrounding Tampa, Siev X and the “Pacific Solution.” We spoke briefly of his story—clearly one of epic dimensions—and Teddy told me he was writing a biography about his life of exclusion, rejection and war. It seemed unreasonable to expect a major achievement. Yet No One’s Son is exactly that. As fine a piece of writing as you’re likely to read from any Australian author, it comes from the sort of person Australia has spent much of its history trying to exclude. Teddy’s young life spans continents, cultures, ancient and urgent conflicts. We are doubly fortunate that he has the gifts to describe them so vividly.”
—Phillip Adams, The Australian; award-winning broadcaster, writer, and filmmaker