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AU/SelassieBack
[Published: Sunday February 10 2019]
 African Union erects Haile Selassie statue
ADDIS ABABA 10 Feb (ANA) - A statue of Ethiopia's last emperor is to be unveiled outside the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The likeness of Haile Selassie is being given pride of place outside the $200m (£154m) building in recognition for his role in establishing its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
But that might not be the first thing that springs to mind on hearing the name Haile Selassie. The name is perhaps more easily connected with Jamaican singer Bob Marley and Rastafarians.
Haile Selassie was more than 30 years into his reign when he helped establish the OAU. Its first meeting, in May 1963, was held in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia - which has never been colonised although it was subjected to a five-year military occupation by Mussolini's Italy - had served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period.
Now other countries were finally gaining independence, and this was a chance to bring nations together to fight against colonisation and white minority rule while also co-ordinating efforts to raise living standards and defend their sovereignty.
"May this convention of union last 1,000 years," Selassie, who spent a year preparing the city for the meeting, told the gathered delegates.
As it happened, the OAU ceased to exist in its original form in 2002, replaced by the African Union (AU).
But his role in establishing the union has not been forgotten, and the statue is a way for the AU to recognise Selassie's contribution.
SIt all comes down to his coronation in 1930, and a "prophecy" made by a Jamaican black rights campaigner, Marcus Garvey, a decade earlier.
Garvey had told his followers in 1920 they should "look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand".(ANA)
FA/ANA/10 February 2019--------
 

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