Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the 25th May 1963 foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union). It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world. On 25 May 1963, representatives of thirty African nations attended a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie I. By that time more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence, mostly from imperial European states. It was at this meeting, that the Organisation of African Unity was founded. The African Union theme for 2017 is “Harnessing Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth”. This theme was chosen since the future of our continent, our unity, our hopes and aspirations for the peaceful and prosperous Africa, rests in the hands of our young people.
In the late 1950’s, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah first President of Ghana and the first Prime Minister of Ghana introduced the concept of African Unity to the continent this concept, stressed the immediate unity of the African continent.
He was inspired by the writings of black intellectuals such as Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. Du Bois, and George Padmore, and his relationships with them. Much of his understanding and relationship to these men was created during his years in America as a student. Some would argue that his greatest inspiration was Marcus Garvey.
Haile Selassie Triumphantly returns to Addis Ababa
On this day 5th May 1941, Emperor Haile Selassie re-enters Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, exactly five years to the day of when it was occupied by Italy. Ethiopia known widely as Abyssinia was one of the first countries to be liberated during the Second World War.
Benito Mussolini had been eyeing Ethiopia (also known as Abyssinia) as an economic colony to be added to Italian Somaliland, in East Africa, since the 1920’s. Italy had an old score to settle after being one of the only countries to be defeated by an African Power during the first Italio-Ethiopian War by the then Ethiopian Emperor Menelik at Adowa on 1 March 1896. He hoped to resettle 10 million Italians in a unified East Africa.
Important Dates: The Earth Day of Empress Menen, Queen of Queens
Woizero Menen was born on 3rd April 1891 (25th Megabit 1883), in the Egua village, Wollo Province. Woizero Menen was baptised Wolete Giorgis in St Delba Girogis Church. A skilful writer, Woizero Menen was known to be kind, compassionate and devoutly God fearing.
In 1902 Woizero Menen married Ras Lul Sagud and had two daughters and two sons before divorcing him. She later married Haile Selassie I in 1911. For the first time in Ethiopian history, during the Coronation of H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I, King of Kings on 2nd November 1930, Empress Menen was crowned Queen of Queens.
The Coronation was held at the St Giorgis Church in Addis Ababa and was witness by dignitaries from across the world.
The sacred and happy union between Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress
Menen lasted for forty seven years, during which time they had three sons and three daughters and was blessed with numerous grandchildren.
Empress Menen made a huge contribution to the development of schools and hospitals as well as the social science institutions.
Today 28th January 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the ‘Voice of Ethiopia’. On this day in 1937 Dr Malaku E Bayen the special emissary to America of Emperor Haile Selassie, and his African American wife Dorothy, created a newspaper called ‘Voice of Ethiopia’ to simultaneously denounce Jim Crow in America, and the fascist invasion in Ethiopia. The ‘Voice of Ethiopia’, was to become known as the official media organ of the Ethiopian World Federation Incorporated. It was pro African newspaper that urged the millions of sons and daughters of Ethiopia scattered throughout the world, to join hands with Ethiopia to save the country from the wolves of Europe. Its first anniversary was marked by a special cable via Western Union from Emperor Haile Selassie, who at that time resided in exile at Fairfield House in Bath.
The cable read ” It is with great pleasure that i have just noted that the ‘Voice of Ethiopia’ has just completed its first year of struggle for the cause of Ethiopia and i send my congratulations. I sincerely hope that it will continue to receive the support of all who love justice”. Emperor Haile Selassie.
An extract from the ‘Voice of Ethiopia’, describes the first birthday celebration. Read on…..
Timket is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. Timket celebrates the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. This festival is best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism During the ceremonies of Timkat, the Tabot, a model of the Ark of the Covenant, is reverently wrapped in rich cloth and borne in procession and carried through the crowd in every city on the head of a priest. The Tabot/s are carried only by the most senior priests of the community and completely covered because they are too sacred for anyone to gaze at them. Even the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox church is forbidden to see it; only its guardians can look at it. The actual Ark of the Covenant is said to be in the city of Aksum, guarded by monks who have vowed not to leave the chapel grounds until death. Continue reading……………….