Impossible de nettoyer l’eau sale (Proverbe Galla – Ethiopie).
It is impossible to clean dirty water (Galla Proverb – Ethiopia).
After learning about the origin of the name Addis Ababa, from Empress Taytu Betul‘s visit to its location, I could not help but talk about the Empress herself. Who was Taytu Betul?
Taytu Betul (also Taitu Betul), whose name Taytu means Sunshine, was a sunshine for her nation when it was about to fall into the hands of the Italian colonizer. Perhaps, there would not have been the famous Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896, which marked the Ethiopian victory against colonialism, without Empress Taytu, for she inspired it.
Empress Taytu Betul was born in Wollo from a Christian and Muslim family. She had a comprehensive education and was fluent in Ge’ez, the classical Ethiopian language; which was a rare achievement for a woman at the time, as education was mostly reserved for boys. Taytu was the third of four children in an aristocratic family related to the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia. Her uncle, Dejazmach Wube Haile Maryam, was the ruler of Tigray and much of Northern Ethiopia in the 1840s, and a rival of Emperor Tewodros II. Her father’s family were the ruling family of Semien province, claiming descent from Emperor Susenyos I. Her grandfather was Ras Gugsa, a member of the powerful ruling family of Yejju, of Oromo origin, which had ruled as Regents in Gondar during the Zemene Mesafint (“Era of the Princes”). After four failed marriages, Taytu Betul was married to Emperor Menelik II (he was still King of Shewa at the time) in 1883 in a full communion church service and thus fully canonical and insoluble, which Menelik had not had with either of his previous wives (whom he had divorced). Their marriage was not just about romance but was also a political marriage sealing alliances with the northern regions of Begemder, Lasta, Semien, and Yeju. She remained his wife until his death in 1913.
Empress Taytu was a loyal and respectful wife to her husband Emperor Menelik II. According to royal historians, she was co-equal with Menelik, who always consulted her prior to making important decisions. She was the one who pushed him to declare war against Italy at the Battle of Adwa—tearing up the 1889 Treaty of Wuchale between the Ethiopian Empire and Italy, a treaty whose article 17 had two different meanings in Amharic and Italian versions: The Amharic version recognized the sovereignty of Ethiopia and its relationship with Italy as just a diplomatic partnership, while the Italian version made Ethiopia Italy’s protectorate. The moment that discrepancy was uncovered, Empress Taytu was the first to agitate the hesitant Emperor and other men to stand up for liberty, dignity and against Italian aggression.
Empress Taytu, as a military strategist, facilitated the downfall of Italy at the Battle of Adwa. She had her own battalion, which she bravely commanded in the battlefield, fighting in the frontline and motivating men against retreat. She also mobilized women, both as fighters and nurses of wounded soldiers. At the Battle of Mekelle, she advised Ras Mekonen to cut off the water supply to the Italians in order to disgorge them from their entrenched and heavily fortified positions at Endeyesus Hill on the eastern part of Mekelle City. Taytu was also the receiver and analyzer of intelligence information collected by spies, which historians have characterized as of crucial importance to the Ethiopian victory at the battle. This information enabled Menelik to attack the Italians, at a site of his choosing, at Adwa instead of Adigrat, near the Eritrean border where the Italians expected to have a relative logistical advantage. The Italians were hoping that Menelik would meet them in Adigrat, close to where they had a well-protected military base.
Independence and cooperation defined Taytu’s relationship with Emperor Menelik II. Their marriage was that of equals characterized by trust, respect and reciprocity. After Menelik was incapacitated due to strokes in 1906, she essentially governed the country, angering all the rivals to the throne. She was ousted from power in 1910. After Menelik II’s death in 1913, she was banished to the old palace at Entoto.
Taytu Betul was an authentic Ethiopian leader. Her deeds at a critical moment in Ethiopian history not only saved Ethiopia from European colonization, but it also paved the way for the decolonization of Africa. Her advice and action resulted in the defeat of the Italian army at the 1896 Battle of Adwa, a mighty European army defeat at the hands of Africans. Taytu strongly defended national interests by overcoming challenges both from within and from without. Just as there was no Menelik II without Taytu Betul, there would have been no Ethiopia without Taytu’s great strength, courage, devotion, and determination. Taytu Betul was truly Ethiopia’s sunshine, and should forever be remembered as one of the greatest empresses of Ethiopia and of Africa as a whole. Please check out Tadias.com which has outstanding information on this great empress. Enjoy this video about the Battle of Adwa.
Posted in Great Civilizations, Great People | Tags: African empress, African queen, Bataille d'Adoua, Battle of Adwa, Battle of Mekelle, Emperor Menelik, Empress of Ethiopia, Ethiopian empress, Ethiopian leader, Ethiopian queen, Menelik, Menelik II, Taitu Betul, Taitu Bitul, Taytu Betul, Treaty of Wuchale
Si vous n’avez pas encore coupé du bois, ne cherchez pas une liane (Proverbe Batabwa, République Démocratique du Congo et Zambie). – Chaque chose en son temps.
If you have not yet cut the wood, do not look for a rope (Batabwa proverb, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia). – Everything in due time.
You can imagine my surprise when I found out that the name of the largest city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa or Addis Abeba, actually meant “New Flower.” No wonder the sound of it was always so pretty.
The region where Addis Ababa is founded is called Finfinne, or Natural Springs, by the local Oromo population; it is an area rich with fauna and flora. In the southwest, can be found Mount Wachacha, and in the north Mount Entoto. Before the foundation of Addis Ababa, Emperor Menelik II and the empress Taytu Betul were installed in the area of Mount Entoto as it was used a military base for operations in the south of the realm; however that area had a rude climate, was cold, and very windy. So the imperial couple used to visit the thermal sources of Filwoha, hot mineral springs, located at a lower altitude.
In 1886, while Empress Taytu Betul was admiring the landscape, she saw a flower of rare beauty. Enchanted by the nice climate, she asked her spouse, Emperor Menelik II, to build her a house in the area. Menelik II agreed and promised Taytu to build her a residence there. The choice of the precise location of Addis Ababa followed the prophecy of Menelik II’s grandfather, Sahle Selassie, Negus of Shewa from 1813 to 1847. During a game of chess, Sahle Selassie declared: “This country is covered with scrub and vegetation, but the day will come when my grandson will build a house here, and will found a city.” Menelik II founded the city at the exact location where his grandfather was practicing fencing. The name was Empress Taytu’s choice: she had been stunned by that beautiful flower she had never seen before, hence she named the city Addis Ababa, or “New Flower” in Amharic.
Menelik expanded his wife’s house to become the Imperial Palace which remains the seat of government in Addis Ababa today. Addis Ababa became Ethiopia’s capital when Menelik II became Emperor of Ethiopia. The town grew by leaps and bounds. One of Emperor Menelik II’s contributions still visible today is the planting of numerous eucalyptus trees along the city’s streets. The city lies at an altitude of 2300 meters, and is a grassland biome.
Following all the major engagements of their invasion, Italian troops from the colony of Eritrea entered Addis Ababa on 5 May 1936. Along with Dire Dawa, the city had been spared the aerial bombardment (including the use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas) practiced elsewhere and its railway to Djibouti remained intact. The city served as the Duke of Aosta‘s capital for the unified colony of Italian East Africa until 1941, when it was abandoned in favor of Amba Alagi and other redoubts during the Second World War‘s East African Campaign. The city was liberated by Major Orde Wingate‘s Sudanese and Ethiopian Gideon Force in time to permit Emperor Haile Selassie‘s return on 5 May 1941, five years to the day after he had left.
Following reconstruction, Haile Selassie helped form the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 and invited the new organization to keep its headquarters in the city. The OAU was dissolved in 2002 and replaced by the African Union (AU), also headquartered in Addis Ababa. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa also has its headquarters in Addis Ababa. It is home to Addis Ababa University. The Federation of African Societies of Chemistry (FASC) and Horn of Africa Press Institute (HAPI) are also headquartered in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has often been called the original cradle of humanity due to various humanoid fossil discoveries like the Australopithecine Lucy. Recent DNA evidence have suggested origins in south central Ethiopian regions like present-day Addis Ababa: after analyzing the DNA of almost 1,000 people around the world, geneticists and other scientists claimed people spread from what is now Addis Ababa 100,000 years ago. Enjoy video about the new flower, and all its cultural wealth.
Here is the complete text of a hand-written speech that the revolutionary Burkina Faso President and African statesman Thomas Sankara was set to deliver on the evening of the day he was assassinated, October 15, 1987. Enjoy this rare jewel! The original in French is on ThomasSankara.net, while the translated English version appeared on Pambazuka.
The Revolution’s prestige, and the confidence with which the masses have devoted themselves, has suffered a serious shock. The consequences are a remarkable decline in enthusiasm for the revolution amongst activists, a serious decrease in the commitment, determination, and mobilization of our grassroots base; finally, distrust and suspicion everywhere and factionalism amongst our leadership.
What are the causes of this?
There are, on one hand, significant questions which could divide us pertaining to the operating structures and the internal functioning of the CNR based on ideological positions. On the other hand, there are questions regarding the relationships between the principal actors, as each of us is a leader. However, as important as ideological and organisational questions are, they are shown to be less important in our current situation. Indeed, at the soul of any organisation, there is a clash of opposites followed by union of these same opposites. The unity of these opposites is always academic, it is never absolute; it is both relative and temporary. “The unity of opposites is consequently an absolute, exactly as development and motion are absolutes”. This is why balance itself is temporary. It can be questioned at any time. It is our responsibility to preserve it as long as possible, to restore it each time it has been threatened or broken. In the case of organizational and ideological questions, we have benefited each time that someone considered it necessary to raise an opinion different from mine, to defend a position different than mine; you did this with freedom and confidence. These I have adopted and implemented, along with advice, suggestions, and recommendations. Moreover, resolution of disputes between men is always simple when trust exists. This means that as long as the revolution is governed by principles, open debate, criticism and self-criticism, it will succeed in resolving any misunderstandings, provided that trust is maintained. Read More…
A prudent and wise visitor opens his eyes, but not his mouth (Bahaya Proverb – Tanzania).
IT is said that once Sun was on earth, and caught Horse to ride it. But it was unable to bear his weight, and therefore Ox took the place of Horse, and carried Sun on its back. Since that time Horse is cursed in these words, because it could not carry Sun’s weight:
“From to-day thou shalt have a (certain) time of dying.
This is thy curse, that thou hast a (certain) time of dying.
And day and night shalt thou eat,
But the desire of thy heart shall not be at rest,
Though thou grazest till morning and again until sunset.
Behold, this is the judgment which I pass upon thee,” said Sun.
Since that day Horse’s (certain) time of dying commenced.
South African Folk Tales, by James A. Honey, 1910, Baker & Taylor Company.
Je suis sûre que si vous êtes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, et de la zone CFA, vous êtes certainement tombée sur cette pièce de 25FCFA sur laquelle une femme est representée. Eh bien cette femme-là est la toute première femme chimiste de la Côte d’Ivoire, Mme Konan née Dicoh Mariam. Elle est gravée sur la pièce de 25f CFA avec une burette de chimiste.
If you are from West Africa, and from the CFA economic zone, you have probably come across the 25 FCFA coin on which a woman is engraved. That woman happens to be the first woman chemist of Côte d’Ivoire, Mrs Konan Dicoh Mariam. She is engraved on the 25 FCFA coin with a burette.
Mrs Konan, a bright chemist who was able to handle a lot of chemistry formulas, is the kind of people we should be talking about; she deserves an excellence prize. She is an example for all the girls and women of Africa, and the world, because she was able to shine by her ambition and motivation. I raise my hat to her and all other women who remain unnamed, because she is a strong and remarkable woman. She is a model who should be remembered in the future by all generations. Wow… first female chemist of an entire country… such a marvelous example of determination!