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May 18, 2022



Romani musician proposed for Czech state honors

7.5.2020 7:06
Olga Fečová celebrating her 70th birthday at Casa Gelmi (26 May 2012). (PHOTO:  ROMEA TV)
Olga Fečová celebrating her 70th birthday at Casa Gelmi (26 May 2012). (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)

The Romani author, educational assistant, foster mother and musician Olga Fečová has been proposed as a candidate for Czech state honors. She was proposed by Doc. PhDr. Zuzana Jurková, PhD., head of the Department of General Anthropology at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University.

Fečová has raised as many brilliant musicians in her own family as the Bach family did in the 18th century. For decades she has dedicated herself to street children, engaging them in activities such as dancing, singing, painting and rehearsing theatrical productions.

Those are just some of the reasons Jurková has proposed her for state honors. Czech Senator Jiří Oberfalzer has supported the proposal in the Senate.

"Throughout her entire life, Olga Fečová has embodied an approach that has proven to be essential and life-saving even now, at the beginning of the COVID epidemic: that selfless care for others can be an integral component of life, including among those who do not have a material surplus," Jurková explained. "There is no doubt that Olga Fečová deserves to walk the path to Vladislav Hall."

Fečová was born in 1942 as Olga Demeterová in Humenné, Slovakia. Both of her parents were from musical families.

She was five when the family moved to Prague. In 1968 she married the well-known Romani musician Josef (Jožka) Fečo (1940 – 2013), who composed music and also performed in ensembles covering the broadest possible range of genres with musicians from his extended family, incuding his children and grandchildren.

The couple raised two daughters. While working, Fečová also dedicated herself to children from disadvantaged environments.

In 1996 she formalized the care she was giving to those children by establishing the ensemble Čhavorikaňi luma ("Children's World") in Neratovice and later in Beroun, Náchod and Krupka. During the past few years she has been involved in the Jileha project run by the Slovo 21 organization, which is oriented toward Romani women.

Fečová became a member of the Czech Helsinki Committee in 1990. Four years ago she won the prestigious Roma Spirit award.

The ROMEA organization filmed an interview with her for its "Memory of the Roma" project that is well worth viewing. You can turn on the English-language subtitles by clicking on the gear icon.



ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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