March 2, 2020
“Menelik, the Great, inspired generations yet unborn with his daring defeat of the Italian Army at the battle of Adwa. He tried diplomacy and experienced cunning; he showed character and got in return snobbery and lies; and when he saw the signs of war, he rallied Ethiopian forces to defeat the enemy on African soil. This became one of the most important lessons in African history.” Molefi Kete Asante, author of The History of Africa
“In 1896 it was evident that the Europeans, even those who said they were the friends of Ethiopia, would come together and betray Menelik after the Treaty of Wuchale. Africans were encouraged by the ultimate victory of Menelik’s genius and the courage of his soldiers on the battlefield. Let our youth never forget the many heroes of our victories; let our nations raise monuments to them in every city to teach lessons of resistance, selflessness, and Pan African Unity!” Molefi Kete Asante, author of The History of Africa
“I am a woman. I do not like war. However, I would rather die rather than accepting your deal…. Don’t ever think that we are not willing to sacrifice our comfort and die for our country. Giving one’s life for the county is an honourable death.” – Empress Taitu Betul, a verse taken from the book ‘Emperor Menelik’ by Paulos Gnogno.
“It was a national epic, the founding event in the modern life of the nation. The stately northward march of Menelik and Taytu not only consolidated their rule but also called upon the Ethiopian people—Tigrayans, Shoans, Oromo, Welayta, and others—to set aside their differences and, in recognizing a common enemy, recognize a common nationhood. Nations, if they are to endure, are defined not by religion, ethnicity, or race but by the scale at which freedom can reliably be defended. Only on the scale of Ethiopia itself could resistance have succeeded” Raymond Jonas, African Victory over the Age of Empire, Harvard University Press
Adwa victory took place in Northern Ethiopia; but it is a decisive victory that made all Africans to be very proud, full of strength to resist all kinds of colonial onslaught. The former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki said Adwa victory made Africa a victor not a victim. The 124 Adwa Great African victory is celebrated in many parts of the Africana world. We had a very unique celebration in South Africa. We agreed to work as much as possible to found the Adwa Great African Victory Association (AGAVA) to celebrate especially the coming 125 anniversaries with memorable historic heritage achievements. AGAVA will promote squares, parks, heritage sites, libraries, schools, universities and statues to be established in all parts of the world to educate generations of Africans to know the historic achievements their ancestors left behind for all future generations. Adwa Great African Victory continues by providing the pathway for achieving full and complete African liberation by removing the unending and unsettling dismemberment of Africans continuing to living within borders cynically drawn to retain the colonial divide and rule that has been flaring up so many conflicts, civil wars and killings. Africa can only silence the guns when there is African unity. The knowledge of decisive African victory achieved by the unity of Africans we have been denied to know must be exposed to all Africans. Aste Menelik said, “I do not propose to be an indifferent spectator while foreign powers are dividing Africa among themselves.” The Adwa victory is for Africa and not just for Ethiopia because it took place successfully by the unity of Ethiopians as Africans and for African unity opposing victoriously the European scramble of Africa. If and when Africans are united, the Adwa Great African victory can be achieved, the lesson is very sharp and clear: if and when Africans unite, and finally reach with full trust and collaboration to end the prolonged destructive divisions, they will finally save Africans and Africa with its huge resources. Africans can unite and build the capacity to own Africa’s very rich resources by making it possible to close-up and end all the neo-colonial traps Africa is in today. Africa should have united yesterday, if not today. Tomorrow is far too late. Let the unity come with our global celebrations of the exemplary African successes during the 125 Adwa great African victory. Let us all celebrate the 125 Great Adwa Victory united, but for nothing else but to unite Africa once and for all.
- Aste Menelik Deserves Statues in the Africana World
The 124 Adwa Great African Victory Day is celebrated to make the 125 Adwa Victory day achieve tangible and measurable high quality output by making sure all across the world come together and achieve historic and memorable heritage sites in all parts of the Africana world. In South Africa, we all Africans are celebrating the Great Adwa African Victory by starting from Johannesburg with a march to Cape Town from 28 February to March 2, 2020. This proves now that the leadership of Aste Menelik is recognised and acknowledged globally as the South African sisters and brothers have even recommended a Menelik square to be set up in South Africa.
Why Atse Menelik deserves statues comes from the way he has been acknowledged globally for leading the decisive victory that made all Africans proud and dignified and European colonial powers nervous, anxious and abandon the strategy to populate Africa with Europeans like they did in America, Canada and Australia.
“In The History of Mankind, there has never been any other black man like Menelik, who had triggered a lasting fear and doubt in the mind of Europeans” Augustus Wylde. If the American president John F Kennedy, the French president Jacques Chirac and Mummar Gaddafi all recognise Aste Menelik as the greatest African leader for ably leading and winning the Adwa victory to make Africa free, why are some in current Ethiopia use ethnic virus and fail to recognise this great African leader?
Menelik the Great inspired generations yet unborn with his daring defeat of the Italian Army at the battle of Adwa. He tried diplomacy and experienced cunning; he showed character and got in return snobbery and lies; and when he saw the signs of war, he rallied Ethiopian forces to defeat the enemy on African soil. This became one of the most important lessons in African history.” (Molefi Kete Asante, author of The History of Africa.)
The First African of modern times to show fighting qualities of a high order and true military skill in handling large mases of men is King Menelik; and by wiping out the Italian army, almost at a single blow, King Menelik has taught a lesson to European powers wrote the New York Journal.”
The Current Prime Minister of Ethiopia has done a great job by establishing a unity park and making sure that Aste Menelik is fully represented. There is, however, a perception of Aste Menelik by some narrow minded ethnic zealots tarnishing his enduring legacy from his brilliant leadership and great historic contributions. Ethiopians must acknowledge whatever mistakes Atse Menelik may have made; he is the greatest leader Africa ever had. It is time all Africans who genuinely recognise through his unique leadership, Aste Menelik has provided all Africans in the world the wonder of African solutions to the problems imposed on Africa by colonialism. It is after the great Victory of Adwa the Second Ethiopia Manifesto was launched globally in 1896. It is in 1897 the African Pan-African Conference was established. It is in 1900 the first Pan-African Congress was launched with Atse Menelik as the honorary president. Adwa victory resonated globally. The newspaper ‘O Menelik’ was founded and run in Brazil. Ethiopia earned the name to be the home for all non-European peoples. It became the spiritual homeland of all the oppressed people not only from Africa, but also the whole world. Ethiopia has a unique distinction in the universe for empowering those that were disempowered, for humanising those that were dehumanised, spiritualising those that were denied their right to worship God and inspiring and strengthening those oppressed to resist oppression. The Great Adwa African victory is part of the distinction Ethiopia received globally making Africans as super capable victors in the world.
Let us celebrate the 124 Adwa Great African victory to work systematically to build statues for the leader Aste Menelik that brought this decisive victory in the Africana world. It is how we can facilitate the much delayed and needed African unity to be realised by all of us embarking on the unity high way.
- The Journey is Still Not Over to End Colonialism
We need the great Adwa African Victory to continue., as now more than ever, Africans need to look back in order to go forward. Adwa Africa Victory lives on in the eternal river of time.
When Africans look back what do we still see? The negative narrative and imagery dominate African lives. Africans are overwhelmed by seeing mainly the destructive over 500 years of the de-humanising African experience. There is a need to recognise and promote by acknowledging, appreciating, and promoting the numerous struggles for liberation that took place from the period of slavery to the present time in all parts of the Africana world. The African struggle heritage is very rich but our ways to learn this rich heritage is still limited. We need to use the next 125 Adwa Great African Victory celebration to become a historic milestone to make all Africans to become change-makers and game changers. Time to make all Africans own rich Africa by learning to unite as our ancestral heroes achieved the remarkable defeat of European colonial powers at Adwa in 1896.
- a) It is urgent that the constructive and positive heritage of liberation struggles from every part of Africa have to be excavated, recorded, studied and resurrected in order to re -educate and wean generations of Africans to know that Africans have continued to sacrifice throughout the over 500 years of destruction, thingification, colonisation and subjection to varied forms of oppression.
- b) The negative destructive period must be taught with a full appreciation of the positive data of the African liberation and resistance historical heritage so that the legacy of colonialism, imperialism, apartheid, neo-colonialism and all varieties of oppression no longer affect Africans from the way they think, to the way they learn, work and look. Time to re-visit and remember all the liberation struggles to enable Africans to achieve the much delayed unity and renaissance expressing full pride, dignity, self-reliance, self-confidence, freedom and independence.
- c) The African futures are built with the imagination and knowledge of the liberation struggle history and heritage by learning and overcoming the remaining risks and dangers from the legacy of the destructive period. The future is made by appreciating and learning from the liberation struggles how Africans tried their best to come together when attacks were directed at them.
- d) The liberation struggles were in various ways influenced by the shared ideas of Ethiopianism, Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance. These ideas were not just created. They are the outcomes of the heritage and history of Africa’s numerous liberation struggles. Ethiopianism, Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance will provide the foundational ideas and visions for re-thinking, re-designing and re-engineering the African united futures.
- Why the Great Adwa African Victory is a True Radiator of the Sun-Shine of Liberation
The Adwa Victory that took place on March 2, 1986 was of the most significant African liberation struggles that took place during the time of the European Scramble for Africa. The Adwa Victory reinforced Ethiopianism and Ethiopianism reinforced pan-Africanism, and both Ethiopianism and Pan-Africanism reinforced the Africa Renaissance. They are one in three, and three into one. The best highway of African liberation is symbolised by the successful resistance of the 1896 Adwa Victory. Any other way is not the African freeway. Africans must value and cherish their history. The Adwa Victory has to live on until Africa is fully free and united. The lessons from Adwa Victory make us all never to give up resisting all varieties of injustice Africans are still not free from. The African spirit of liberation will continue to shine ever brighter by remembering all the liberation struggles that the great African Adwa Victory represents.
The victory dented irreversibly the claim that the European colonial project was invincible. The victory was so decisive it brought into big question the project to Europeanise, just like America, Canada and Australia, the whole of Africa. Remarkably, Africans from South Africa and other parts wanted to join the battle making the Adwa Victory a distinctive African battle over World Empire.
.Adwa was a major anti-colonialist battle fought by all Ethiopians, under the skilful leadership of Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu. This victory resonated well beyond the Ethiopian and indeed the African border. It represented the clash between colonialism and liberation on a world-scale. Emperor Menelik made the call: “Those who have strength, support us with your strength those who are weak, support us with your prayers.” It is a matter of historical record that the Adwa victory signalled the end of the Scramble for Africa. This victory constitutes a crucial chapter in the record of African resistance and liberation. It armed generations of Africans with the confidence of victory to engage in resistance and liberation. It attracted attention as far as the Caribbean and the Americas, not to mention South Africa, where those involved in the Ethiopianism movement decided to join directly the battle of Adwa in 1896.
. The Adwa Victory forms as a key pillar reinforcing the Pan-African Congresses, and the first African liberation movement the ANC in Azania. Adwa Victory provided probably one of the best, if not the very best of all the most practical examples of the African resistance history during the Scramble for Africa. Hence it becomes one of the pivotal helices for Ethiopianism, Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance Adwa Victory in 1896 reinforces the World Union of Ethiopians (Africans), formed as the African Association in 1897 from outside Africa. The Pan-African congress was founded by Sylvester Williams in 1900 with unrecognised support from a young Pan-African South African woman Anne Victor Kinloch. Sylvester Williams had the direct contact with Emperor Menelik at the time. Cuban-Americans, Haitians and African Diaspora from Brazil all were inspired by the Adwa Victory of 1896. Haiti’s 100 years of independence was celebrated in Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. The formation of the African National Congress (ANC) as the first African Liberation Movement with spiritualism and Ethiopianism was acknowledged by former president Mandela as follows:
“Fundamental tenets of the Ethiopian Movement were self-worth, self-reliance and freedom. These tenets drew the advocates of Ethiopianism, like a magnet, to the growing political movement. That political movement was to culminate in the formation of the ANC in 1912. It is in this sense that the ANC, we, trace the seeds of the formation of our organization to the Ethiopian Movement of the 1890s” (Nelson Mandela, Speech to the Free Ethiopian Church of South Africa).African -American churchmen who went to South Africa in the 1890s arrived at a time when some African Christians were setting up churches of their own. This independent-church movement was called “Ethiopianism”
Ethiopianism became a generic term to describe a whole range of the black man’s efforts to improve his religious, educational and political status in society. It became the concept that constituted pan-Africanism from the 18th, 19th to the 20th century until World War I in 1914.The Adwa victory provided practical expression to Ethiopianism: self-worth, dignity, unity, confidence, self-reliance, race pride, spirituality and freedom from colonialism.
- Adwa Great African Victory Association (AGAVA) Founded on March 2, 2020
On March 2, 2020, a number of the founding organising members of the (AGAVA) from Johannesburg done the march in Cape Town from Menelik Square to the parliament of South Africa. AGAVA is now founded. Its vision is to share the knowledge that is lacking on the real African achievement that Adwa victory brought. AGAVA encourages all Africans to come and do the Adwa Unity that delivered victory to be done in the 21st century in order to make sure all Africans learn how to unite. Let us use this whole year until 125 to achieve African unity. Let us also establish the squares, parks, statues, schools, pan-African education systems, histories, philosophies, universities and heritage sites wherever we can. We need to found the Atse Menelik statue and if possible, we can include in a heritage site for all the leaders and the soldiers that sacrificed at the Adwa battle. We can establish AGAVA branches in different countries and regions in Africa and across the world. Let us discuss it. We have the Adwa victory website and we can open electronically varied ways to communicate and achieve tangible results. (https://nesglobal.org/adwa124/). We have Nelson Mandela statues in different parts of Africana world. It will be great if Adwa Great African Victory is celebrated globally by erecting at least statues for Atse Menelik. Let us all work systematically to realize. How great it will be if we can get South Africa to inspire the rest of the Africana world as the South Africa is now chairing the Africa Union. How great it will be if South Africa makes the celebration with tangible erections of inspiring heritage sites at the time the chair of the AU is South Africa.
- A Handbook on the Great Adwa African Victory: A Must Read for ALL
We have already done a special issue in the Ethiopian electronic journal of Research and Innovation Foresight
We can build on this special issue to produce an Adwa Great African Victory Handbook. One of the expected outputs can be the handbook. It is very necessary to produce a handbook on the Great African Adwa Victory and publish it to launch on the 125th of the Great African Adwa Victory Day on March 2, 2021. Africa World Press has agreed to facilitate the production of the book. Contributions should come from all parts of Africa. How great to see contributions from the younger generation from all parts of the Africana world.
The following thematic areas included in the handbook.
- The Significance of The Adwa Victory for Expediting African Unity Today
- The Lessons of the Adwa Africa Victory against the Scramble for Africa
- The Relationship of Adwa Victory with Ethiopianism,Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance
- Adwa’s African Victory with ANC, and the Pan-African Congresses
- The Relevance of the lessons from the great Adwa Victory to Diffuse Pan-African education
- The Relationship of Liberation Struggles inside and outside Africa
- The Contribution of the African Diaspora to the Adwa African victory
- Adwa Victory make Africa a victor not a victim
- Adwa Victory the Best Example for providing African solutions to African problems Evaluating critically political and economic de-coloinsation
- Using Adwa Great African Victory as a Model for Anchoring Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance to close the colonial chapter once and for all.
- Concluding Remark
Let us all work very hard to make sure we found in the Africana world memorable educational resources, heritage sites, square, parks, statues, libraries, universities, museums, handbook publication and even make every month of March to become as the great African History Month.
Let us build AGAVA to make the African victory to continue and the African victimhood to disappear forever. Time to make Africans own rich Africa and make every African to live decent lives with dignity and full freedom from the unending colonial malaise. Let freedom come. Let Adwa Victory continue as the true lesson united Africans can never be defeated! Divided, they remain colonised. United the Adwa victory spirit, Africa will be finally liberated forever.
By Mammo Muchie, DPhil: On Behalf of NES Global and AGAVA
DST/NRF SARChI Research Professor on Science, Technology, Innovation and Development: Tshwane University of Technology, Adjunct Professor in BDU & Harmaya, Ethiopia; TMDC, Oxford University