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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Hana Gebretensae

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant

Hana Gebretensae moved to the United States from Ethiopia in 2009. As a passionate home cook, she brought the lessons she learned in her native country. She learned to cook from her mother in Ethiopia, beginning as a young girl peeling garlic, onion and ginger, important components in Ethiopian dishes. It was often a serious pursuit that might mean getting tested by future in-laws on the quality of a cook’s Doro Wat, a dish of chicken stew and hard-boiled egg.

Hana took over one of Nashville’s most beloved Ethiopian restaurants in 2013. At Gojo, Hana is more often tested instead by her clientele, which she is estimates is about ninety percent American and ten percent Ethiopian.

“I want people to know that, and our food is different colors and different texture, and we have that bread only in Ethiopia,” she says. “That makes me proud. I want people to know. That’s something I tell every single day for my customer.”

Date of interview:

Jennifer Justus

Emily B. Hall

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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