It will be Barack Obama’s first visit to the land of his father as American president and a far cry from a 1988 trip when his luggage got lost. Obama will be visiting only Kenya and Ethiopia. Yet each is the base for two Africa-wide trends. In Ethiopia, he will give a speech at the headquarters of the 54-nation African Union, the main body trying to lift the standards of governance among its members. But the White House appears more focused on Kenya, which is Africa’s center of innovation and host to a global “summit” of entrepreneurs.
119 years ago, today, the unthinkable happened, as far as the Europeans were concerned. The Ethiopian army trounced the Italians in the Battle of Adwa. Headlines such as ‘Abyssinia (Ethiopia) Defeats Invading Italians’; ’80,000 Ethiopians Destroy 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adwa’; ‘Italian Premier Crispi Resigns’; and ‘Abyssinia and Italy Sign Peace Treaty.’ peppered the European press. Adwa was placed on the world map and remained a historic story because of Ethiopia’s decisive victory against the Italian army on March 1st 1896 (Yekatit 23, 1888 according to the Ethiopian calendar).
'I am a woman. I do not like war. But I would rather die than accepting your deal."attributed to Empress Taitu Bitul*, Wife of Menelik II [more inside]
"... now, my sight and my world and my life have all returned." Vision: Healing the Blind in Ethiopia [vimeo, 10m] [more inside]
With East Africa facing its worst drought in 60 years, affecting more than 11 million people, the United Nations has declared a famine in the region for the first time in a generation. Alan Taylor's In Focus quickly brings home the scale of the suffering, with a link to the CNN article listing several ways to donate.
3D laser scanning offers a fly-through view of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Carved directly into volcanic bedrock, the churches of Lalibela were built during the Zagwe Dynasty (1137-1270). YouTube video of the church and local villagers.
Out of Africa. As award-winning Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Stephanie Nolen bids farewell to a place she's come to love, she reflects on how it has changed, and how it changed her. [more inside]
The People of the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, use their faces and bodies as canvases, using natural elements at hand in an especially beautiful, natural fashion show. These photographs [flash] were taken by Hans Silvester, a German photographer who spent 10 months in the Omo Valley. [more inside]
Teff, a native Ethiopian grain, has been cultivated there for at least 4,000 years. Its seeds are smaller than pinheads, and can be easily scattered. Many Ethiopians eat it two to three times a day in injera bread, porridge or, of course, alcohol (pages 3-4). The grain is gluten-free and is full of essential amino acids, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. It has a short growing season and tolerance for marginal soils and drought or flood conditions, but its low comparative yield optimal sunlight conditions, and labor intensive harvest may limit the spread of the grain.
China's African oil safari turns bloody again. "Before dawn this morning At 0430 AM local time in Ogaden, the 'Dufaan' commando unit of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) conducted a military operation in the vicinity of Obala, 30km North-West of Degah-Bur in in Northern Ogaden." Sixty-five Ethiopians and nine Chinese were killed in an attack of an unprecedented scale. Another seven Chinese workers are being held by the ONLF. (BBCFocusAfrica interviews ONLF spokesman (.ram streaming audio))