Ethiopian Community takes pride in Nelson Mandela’s ties to Homeland

Members of the Washington, DC area Ethiopian community paid homage to Nelson Mandela, former South African President and former leader of the African National Congress, who passed away on December 5th at the age of 95.

As the world both mourns Mandela’s passing and celebrates his life, it was Mandela’s special ties with Ethiopia that brought about 20 or so Ethiopians to the recently erected statue of Mandela in front of the South African Embassy in our Nation’s Capital to pay tribute to the iconic figure. The statue has served as a memorial with an array of notes, flowers, candles, photos and other items left by people as a way of paying their respect.

Waving both South African flags and Ethiopian flags and holding pictures of Mandela while music and speeches by Mandela played in the background, the group’s pride in his ties to their homeland was very evident.

Mandela received military training in Ethiopia in 1962, shortly before his imprisonment for 37 years in South Africa for his role in attempting to overthrow the Apartheid regime in his country. It is said that Mandela admired the tenents of the Ethopian Movement of self-worth, self-reliance and freedom and carried those tenents forth into his fight against Apartheid. He also received a passport while in Ethiopia under an alias, something he didn’t receive in his motherland until his eventual reliease in 1990.

“It shows to us that love can conquer anything. And, the way people came together the past few days is unheard of. That is because you guys have produced a great man and his legacy is a legacy for all of us,” Obang Metho said of Mandela. Metho is Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia. He made the remark to Darias Jonker, First Secretary -Political of the South African Embassy who came out to greet the group.

“When Mandela took a trip through Africa, when he decided to take his struggle to another level and the time he spent in other countries including Ethiopia made a big difference on Mandela the man,” Jonker told the group. “Thank you for sharing in our sadness but also sharing in a vintage of hope and an enjoyable future that one day all of us can live to witness.”

1 comment for “Ethiopian Community takes pride in Nelson Mandela’s ties to Homeland

    December 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Ethiopia & Mandela ! World icon Ma:diba !!!

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