Skip to Content

13 Most Famous People From Eritrea

The most famous people from Eritrea have contributed to their country through their impactful actions. This article relays the achievements of the 13 most famous people from Eritrea. They showcase the breadth of talent that has emerged from this vibrant nation. Let’s start meeting these people . . .

List of 13 Most Famous People from Eritrea

Here are the individuals who have excelled in their respective fields and put Eritrea on the global map:

1. Zersenay Tadese

13 Most Famous People from Eritrea
Source: Erik van Leeuwen

Zersenay Tadese is renowned worldwide as one of the most famous people from Eritrea for his exceptional achievements in long-distance running. A multiple world champion in half marathon events, he also earned a bronze medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics. His contribution to athletics has not only brought him fame but has also inspired many young Eritreans to pursue sports.

2. Meb Keflezighi

13 Most Famous People from Eritrea
Source: Julian Mason

At a young age, Meb Keflezighi fled Eritrea with his family, seeking refuge in Italy before eventually settling in the United States. Despite facing numerous challenges, including adapting to a new country and culture, he pursued his passion for running.

His triumph at the 2009 New York City Marathon was particularly remarkable, as he became the first American man to win the race in 27 years. This victory solidified his status as a top marathon runner and endeared him to fans around the world.

Moreover, his win at the 2014 Boston Marathon was equally impressive, coming just a year after the tragic bombings at the event. His victory symbolised resilience and hope, earning him admiration and respect from both the running community and the general public.

3. Bereket Habte Selassie

Bereket Habte Selassie is an Eritrean academic, lawyer, and diplomat. He studied law at the University of Cambridge and later earned his doctorate from Harvard Law School. He is known for his expertise in international law and his contributions to Eritrea’s independence movement.

Specifically, he played a crucial role in developing Eritrea’s legal framework and served as an advisor to the Eritrean government during its struggle for independence from Ethiopia. Also, he has taught at several universities around the world and authored numerous books and articles on international law.

4. Helen Meles

13 Most Famous People from Eritrea
Source: Shanetino

Helen Meles is a singer and one of the most famous people from Eritrea. She is known for her soulful voice and unique style. She began her music career in the early 2000s and quickly gained popularity across the country and beyond. 

Her music blends traditional Eritrean rhythms with modern sounds, creating a distinctive and captivating sound. She is known for her emotive performances and her ability to connect with audiences on a deep level. Over the years, she has released several albums and singles, many of which have become hits in Eritrea and the diaspora.

5. Isaias Afwerki

13 Most Famous People from Eritrea
Source: Foreign Affairsng

As the first President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki holds a unique place among the most famous people from Eritrea. His role in the country’s struggle for independence and its eventual liberation in 1991 has been pivotal. Despite the controversy surrounding his leadership, his impact on the nation’s political landscape is undeniable.

In addition, his influence was felt beyond Eritrea. He has played a role in regional politics, particularly in the Horn of Africa, where Eritrea’s strategic location has made it a key player in the region’s geopolitics.

6. Amanuel Asrat

Amanuel Asrat was an Eritrean poet, writer, and editor recognised for his literary contributions and his commitment to freedom of expression. He was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Zemen’ and a member of the Eritrean Writers Association. He used his platform to advocate for social justice and to highlight human rights abuses in Eritrea. 

However, he was arrested in September 2001 during a government crackdown on dissent and was held incommunicado for over a decade without trial. His whereabouts and condition remained unknown until 2018 when it was reported that he had died in detention. Yet, his poetry and writing continue to inspire and resonate with many, and he is remembered as a courageous voice for change in Eritrea.

7. Nipsey Hussle

13 Most Famous People from Eritrea
Source: Soundtrack Beat Battle

Nipsey Hussle, a rapper and entrepreneur of Eritrean descent, gained prominence in the American music scene for his unique style and impactful lyrics. Born Ermias Asghedom, he was deeply connected to his Eritrean heritage, which influenced both his music and his community activism. His legacy continues to influence and inspire a global audience, making him one of the most famous people from Eritrea.

8. Robel Teklemariam

Robel Teklemariam is a trailblazing Eritrean-American athlete who made history as the first athlete to represent Eritrea at the Winter Olympics. He moved to the United States as a child and developed a passion for skiing. He competed in cross-country skiing and represented Eritrea at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, where he became a symbol of perseverance and determination. 

Despite limited resources and training opportunities, his participation in the Olympics inspired many and helped put Eritrea on the map in the world of winter sports.

9. Efrem Zecarias

Efrem Zecarias is a notable lawyer and one of the most famous people from Eritrea. He is renowned for his extensive work in international law. His contributions to various United Nations panels and his advocacy for human rights have made him a respected figure in legal circles and beyond.

10. Yemane Barya

13 Most Famous People from Eritrea
Source: Zemen

A musician and songwriter, Yemane Barya is considered a pioneer in the Eritrean music scene and one of the most famous people from Eritrea. His songs, which blend traditional and modern influences, have played a significant role in shaping the contemporary music landscape in Eritrea. His work remains influential, making him a key figure in Eritrean culture.

11. Tsehaytu Beraki

13 Most Famous People from Eritrea
Source: Dagnaq

Tsehaytu Beraki, an esteemed musician, is widely recognised for her mastery of the krar, a traditional Eritrean lyre. Her music, deeply rooted in Eritrean traditions, has captivated audiences both in Eritrea and internationally, earning her a spot among the famous people from Eritrea.

12. Sophia Tesfamariam

Sophia Tesfamariam is a prominent Eritrean-American activist and diplomat. She currently serves as the Eritrean Ambassador to the United Nations. Her efforts in promoting Eritrea’s interests on the global stage have made her a notable figure in international relations.

13. Semere Russom

Semere Russom, the Eritrean Minister of Education and former ambassador, is well-known for his contributions to Eritrea’s educational sector. His efforts to improve educational policies and infrastructure have had a lasting impact on the country’s development.

Famous People from Eritrea: Snapshot

The individuals listed above represent just a snapshot of the influence that Eritrea has contributed to the world. From athletes and artists to leaders and activists, these famous people from Eritrea have not only achieved personal success but have also helped enrich their homeland and the global community. If you enjoyed this article on the most famous people from Eritrea, I am sure you will love exploring the following topics too: