Tag Archives: Sweet Crazies of Addis Ababa

Photographing the Sweet Crazies of Addis Ababa-Ethiopia

According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of Ethiopian adults (12 million people) suffer from mental illness. Yet there is only one psychiatric clinic in the whole country.

By Jan Hoek,

15 percent out of the 12 million Ethiopian Adults suffer from mental illness: WHO

The first metally ill person I saw in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, was having an animated chat with the sky in the middle of a roundabout. He had cigarettes in both of his nostrils, wore aviator sunglasses, and his outfit was a hodgepodge of frayed, worn-out, wonderfully matching pieces of clothing. He looked like a mythical figure, and when I approached him he threw a rock at my head.

During the rest of my trip I saw hundreds of others like him, all dressed better than any model on any catwalk. They wore bottles, homemade hats, or entirely leatherette outfits.

The phenomenon is so widespread in Ethiopia they even have a name for this group of people: Sweet Crazies. It doesn’t sound very PC, but it is a very affectionate term. Continue reading Photographing the Sweet Crazies of Addis Ababa-Ethiopia