NES Commentary 45
“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
“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
“If in Brazil the newspaper ‘Oh Menelik’ after the Great Adwa Victory was created, why not we fail to erect a statue in Southern Africa where Ethiopianism has inspired the liberation imagination of all Africans with the second Ethiopia Manifesto declared after Adwa Victory in 1896 in Southern Africa.” Molefi K Asante and Mammo Muchie
“If the American president John F Kennedy, the French president Jacques Chirac and Mummar Gaddafi all recognize 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 recognize this great African leader?” Mammo Muchie
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” —Mammo Muchie
Today is the 123 Adwa Great African Victory Day. We are celebrating the Great Adwa African Victory in Johannesburg in South Africa on March 2, 2019. The leadership of Aste Menelik is recognised and acknowledged globally. For some reason in Ethiopia, there is still a perception of Aste Menelik with ethnic curses and lenses. 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 the leadership Aste Menelik provided that Africa discovered the globally recognised 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. 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 for Africa but also for the whole world.
The Journey is Still Not Over to End Colonialism
Today, more than ever, Africans need to look back in order to go forward. But what do Africans see when they look back? They often are overwhelmed by seeing mainly the destructive over 500 years of the de-humanising African experience. They rarely acknowledge, appreciate, recognise and promote the numerous struggles for liberation that took place from the period of slavery to the present time in all parts of the Africana world.
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 become Africans with 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. Africa’s unity is still waiting to be made. 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 Sunshine of Liberation
The Adwa Victory that took place on March 2, 1896 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 successful resistance of the 1896 Adwa Victory symbolizes the best highway of African liberation. 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” Empress Taitu added: “I am a woman. I do not like war. But I would rather die than accepting your deal.”
It is a matter of historical record that the Adwa victory signalled the beginning of 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. In South Africa we celebrated the 120 years of the Great Adwa Africa Victory with former President and current chancellor of UNISA gave a powerful and knowledge rich highly inspiring keynote address. When we celebrated the 120 years of the Great Adwa African victory, we combined it with the 6th Africa Unity for Renaissance Conference to open the opportunity to connect all the liberation struggles with the current call to fulfil African unity and Renaissance today. We opened with a number of partners that included the DST, NRF AISA, TMALI, UJ and TUT and others to go from talking to doing African unity and renaissance in 2010. In 2016 Both Adwa’s African victory and the African unity for Renaissance has been run with TMALI providing the secretariat. The Patron our brother former President Thabo Mbeki gave the most inspiring and so well researched the keynote address combining the 120 years of Africa’s Adwa Victory with his powerful vision combining Ethiopianism with Pan-Africanism and the African renaissance.
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 significant 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 that was in 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.
Lessons from the Adwa African victory over World Empire are relevant to strengthen Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance for our time and the future. The Africa Union, all the current African states, the entire African Diaspora and even all those nations across the world that have been colonised are welcome to participate and contribute and spread vast education and awareness to reach every African child, woman and man across the world.
Concluding Remark: A Handbook on the Great Adwa African Victory Is A Must Read for ALL
We need 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.
We suggest there should be the following 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 finally.
Wishing you all to spend the happy Adwa Great African day memorably and educationally to make Africans own rich Africa and make every African to live by enjoying additive and multiplicative capable life free from the subtraction of life with poverty, inequality and ballooning unemployment.
Prof. Mammo Muchie, DPhil
DST/NRF SARChI Research Professor on Science, Technology, Innovation and Development :Tshwane University of Technology , Adjunct Professor in BDU & Harmaya, Ethiopia , and Riara University in Kenya, and Associate Faculty Professor, Sussex University, U.K.