In Ethiopia AU Inaugurates Majestic New Statue Honoring Emperor Haile Selassie

A statue of Emperor Haile Selassie was inaugurated at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Photo: Elias Mulugeta Hordofa @eluukoo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Former Emperor Haile Selassie is finally receiving his due recognition for his role in establishing the African Union (AU) – initially launched as the Organization of African Unity (OAU). On Sunday, February 10th, a majestic new statue in Haile Selassie’s likeness was inaugurated at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital in the presence of heads of state, family members, community leaders and international media.

Among those who attended the event included Ethiopian American social activist Nebyat Aklilu Demessie, who led a grassroots movement for over 6 years to help erect the statue honoring Ethiopia’s last emperor. Nebyat traveled to Ethiopia for the event at the invitation of Haile Selassie’s family.

As we wrote here previously: “On May 25, 1963 [two decades after Ethiopia fought and retained her independence from Italian military occupation] several Heads of State from 32 newly independent African countries gathered in Addis Ababa. The meeting brought together various factions from across the continent that held differing views on how to achieve union among the emerging, decolonized African countries – an issue that also preoccupied the continent’s press and academics at the time. One such promiment group, “The Casablanca bloc,” led by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, argued for the federation of all African states. A second group of countries called “The “Monrovian bloc”, led by Léopold Senghor of Senegal, preferred a more gradual economic cooperation. Emperor Haile Selassie offered a diplomatic solution and brokered the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now renamed the African Union (AU). The assembly settled its headquarters in Addis Ababa and entrusted Haile Selassie with the very first of its rotating chairmanships. Gamal Abdul Nassar of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana served as subsequent OAU leaders.”

The Associated press noted “Ethiopians have cheered the statue’s erection, the first on Ethiopian soil since Haile Selassie was mysteriously killed at the age of 83 in 1975 when a military junta called the Derg overthrew the imperial dynasty that existed in Ethiopia for 3,000 years.”

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