Your are here  » Home   » Sunday Magazine

Ethiopia’s conquering lion who ruled for 50 years

By  -Amos Kareithi
Updated Sunday, April 21st 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Amos Kareithi

Although it has been 38 years since Emperor Haile Selassie died in unclear circumstances in his palace, echoes of this man who was revered and loathed in equal measure still reverberate across the globe

Red-hot coals, Chinua Achebe once warned, beget cold impotent ash.

This appears to have been the case for the crafty ‘Lion of Judah’, who was unwittingly ushered into a nondescript car and metaphorically driven to the slaughter slab by his troops.

Emperor Haile Selassie was only answerable to God, with his mandate and power permanently entrenched by the constitution and also supported by his royal lineage dating back to Biblical times.

Since the 13th Century, the family of Ras Tafari, who later became Haile Selassie, had withstood earthly powers. Not even the 500,000 heavily armed soldiers sent by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini were strong enough to permanently keep the crafty aristocrat from his throne.

In the Caribbean and other parts of the world, Haile Selassie was worshipped as a god, Ras, by the Rastafaris, who considered him holy.

In Jamaica, Rastafaris camped by the ocean shore, waiting for a ship to deliver them from ‘captivity’ to Ethiopia, where 500 acres of land donated by the emperor awaited them.

Closer home, half a century after he first set foot in Kenya, Haile Selassie is immortalised in the naming of two busy avenues in the two biggest cities, Nairobi and Mombasa.

FORGING TIES

It appears that although it has been 38 years since he died in unclear circumstances in his own palace, echoes of this man who was revered and loathed in equal measure still reverberate across the globe.

Some of the institutions he helped to establish have outlived him and earned his country, Ethiopia, a central place in the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) and its replacement, the African Union, which is headquartered at Addis Ababa.

GO TO PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 Next »
Do you have something to add to this story? Comment here.

Next Story »

More Stories
See More »

  • Guam is a jewel in the Pacific

    Few people would be familiar with the name of the Micronesian island of Guam, which with its inviting golden sandy beaches, coral reefs and rich culture is a destination worth considering for a relaxing holiday.
    Read More »
  • Two-wheeler terror must be neutralised

    As if that is not enough, in the last couple of months, boda boda riders have been captured on CCTV cameras abetting felonies by offering a quick getaway from the crime scene.
    Read More »
  • Kenyans are sheep in colourful clothing

    It is surprising how many things Kenyans today take for granted as if they were a natural part of their lives.
    Read More »
  • Can long distance parenting work?

    There is this thing that distance does where it subtracts warmth and context and history...” Those are the words of this year’s African region winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Lesley Nneka Arimah from Nigeria.
    Read More »
  • Rudeness propels this age of rage

    A day hardly passes without a rude exchange in my house, workplace or neighbourhood. It seems we are living in an age of rage, where rudeness is the in-thing, preferred by both the young and those who should know better.
    Read More »
  • Sio Port revives ambitious vision

    And with the effects of devolution beginning to trickle down, more Memoriam Resorts may just sprout and turn Sio Port into the town that the local people have always believed it is.
    Read More »
  • High heels or the highway

    Cannes Film Festival organisers have denied a report that they were enforcing a strict high-heel rule for women on the event’s legendary red carpet after a storm of protest on social media.
    Read More »
  • Positive words nurture dreams

    As parents, it is important to say positive things to our children. What we say to them stays in their subconscious and affects their actions and self-assurance later.
    Read More »
  • Father to the fatherless

    In the year 2000, Pastor Enos established the National Hidden Talents Academy, a primary and secondary school for the children to develop their talents in academics and sports.
    Read More »
  • One girl, one year, many lessons

    It has been one year since Mademoiselle Adoti made her grand entry into this world, sucking on her finger and acting like she was down with the whole birth thing.
    Read More »

Find us on Social Media

Popular Lifestyle

Popular News

Videos