Image © Herb Leventon
about sum sum
Tizbt Weldemichael, affectionately known as Sum Sum, has been leading bespoke photography tours for the past 9 years. He has worked with such noted photographers and groups as John Rowe co-founder of Omo Child, Steve McCurry, Hans Silvester, Miro May, the BBC, National Geographic, and Epic Photo Tours.
Sum Sum was born in the rural village of Maji which is located in the remote Omo Valley region. As a member of the Dizi tribe his mother was a farmer and his father a Government employee.
He was raised alongside his family which includes 4 other siblings. He attended primary school in the village of Maji and was send to a boarding school for secondary education in Mizan Teferi. He recalls his favorite subjects being geography and Ethiopian history.
Upon completion of secondary school he obtained employment as a cook’s assistant for an Addis Ababa-based tour operator. After 3 years in this role he became a scout. With his knowledge of numerous tribal languages he soon rose to the role of head guide.
Sum Sum has extensive guiding experience in the in the less-visited Upper Omo Valley region. He has close personal relationships with chiefs from the Surma, Suri, Nyangatom, and Dassenech tribes. He also is connected to the Lower Omo Valley tribes which include the Mursi, Hamer, Kara, and Arbore. He is well acquainted with tribal culture, history and traditions and is fluent in English and 6 tribal dialects.
Sum Sum is familiar with the unique requirements and expectations of photographers traveling to these tribal areas. His understanding of lighting, location and portraiture makes him invaluable to the photographer working in this difficult and challenging terrain.