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  • Turkey restoring tomb of Ethiopian King Najashi, who sheltered Muslim emigrants

    The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is finishing up a restoration project on the tomb of King Najashi, the former leader of modern day Ethiopia's Kingdom of Aksum.

    TIKA coordinator in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Fazıl Akın Erdoğan, told reporters that the restoration project on a mosque and tomb located 800 kilometers from the capital would wrap up this year.

    In addition to the restorations, Erdoğan explained that additional buildings were being constructed in the area, "We made a full-fledged food court to serve the needs of the guests and visitors. Besides the kitchen, we built a multi-purpose hall that can fit 500 people," he said.

    The restoration team also met the water needs of the tomb area by building 160 ton water depots in two different places.

    Noting that the project had been ongoing for three years, Erdoğan said that Ottoman architectural examples were evident in the marble, door, and window details of the mosque and tomb.

    Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey had made various negotiations with Ethiopia's Religious Services Consultancy and that they would like King Najashi's tomb to be added to the route of pilgrimage and umrah organizations in Turkey. If this happens, he said, the tomb would be a huge contribution to the tourism industry in Ethiopia.

    Imam Mohammad Ibrahim of the Najashi Mosque explained that, before the renovation works, the mosque was not in a good condition, but that everything had changed with the restoration effort.

    The imam also stated that he always prayed for Turkey and Turkish people saying, "Turkey is not only helping us, it is helping all Muslims."

    Getachew Berhe, an Ethiopian engineer who has worked on the project and speaks Turkish fluently, explained that after studying civil engineering in Turkey, he returned to his country and began working on the restoration efforts.

    Bearing in mind that the project is very significant for both Muslims and Ethiopians, Berhe said, "I am very pleased to have contributed to this work."

    King Najashi, also known as Armah, was the ruler of the Kingdom of Aksum from 614-631. The Empire was a trading nation situated in modern-day Eritrea and Ethopia, existing from approximately 100-940 AD.

    King Najashi gave shelter to early Muslims from Mecca who were seeking refuge from Quraysh persecution by traveling to Aksum, which was at time a Christian Kingdom. In Islamic history, the journey is known as the first hijra.


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  • Inside the homes of the last Ethiopian Rastas

    A stunning set of photographs reveal the unlikely life of the 300 Rastafarians living in Ethiopia having migrated from the UK, France and Jamaica.

    Rastafarianism - which became global in the 1960s and 70s with the music of reggae stars and committed Rastas Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff - first emerged as a spiritual movement in the 1930s among descendants of African slaves in Jamaica, who adopted Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie as their messiah at a time when he stood out as the only independent black monarch in Africa.

    Bandi Payne with a portrait of former ruler Emperor Haile Selassie who donated 500 acres of land to allow members of the Rastafari movement and settlers from Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean to go to Africa.

    A supporter of decolonisation and cooperation among African states then largely under European control, Haile Selassie in the 1950s set aside 500 acres in Shashamane to welcome back descendants of slaves seeking to return home.

    They did, and Shashamane is today home to around 300 Rastas, though the population has dwindled from its peak, which at one point stood at 2,000 people about 150 miles from the capital of Addis Ababa.

    Nearly 8,000 miles separate Jamaica and Ethiopia, but the Rastafarian community revered Selassie and considered him their God.

    When he died in 1975, his followers called it Ethiopia's last ever Emperor's 'disappearance', and not his death, refusing to believe he had passed away.

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  • Doctors available round the clock thanks to new call centre in Ethiopia

    Ethiopia has embraced a medical innovation that allows people to access medical help 24-hours a day with a simple phone call. Every day, the team of medical professionals at Hello Doctor receives around 200 calls. For a country where the ratio of doctors to patients is estimated at one to 30-thousand, and accessibility to health centres is a challenge in many areas, this service is proving to be a godsend. Coletta Wanjohi reports from Addis Ababa.

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  • Bill Gates: "up to individual countries to regulate internet"

    Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has declined to criticize Ethiopia's recent blockage of social media, saying it is up to individual countries to regulate their internet.

    He was responding to Ethiopian reporters' questions about the government's disabling of social media sites earlier this month.

    Ethiopian authorities said the sites were disabled during national school examinations so students would not be distracted.

    Critics said the government has no legal basis to deny the freedom of expression to millions of citizens.

    Gates said each country "decides what the rules are going to be in terms of pornography, hate speech . what is allowed and what's not allowed."

    He added that making the internet low-cost and available is good for economic growth.

    Gates was visiting Ethiopia to discuss health and agriculture.

    Source: abcnews

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  • Poet Hails Late Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi

    A book that entirely revolve around with the life, experiences and contributions of the Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi meant to the whole Ethiopian people was published late this year by an author Esubalew Kasa in Bahir Dar, Amhara State. 

    By chance, Esubalew was invited to showcase his artistic and poetry works in the National Arts, Painting, Musical Instruments, Cultural and Traditional Values and Book Fair and Festival organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently at the Oromia Cultural Centre. The writer of this piece had approached him for an interview.

    The author was born in Debre-Markos and raised up close to churches imbibing biblical thoughts. It was this way, he managed to write some poems and war songs in war fronts and training camps after he joined the Derg military staff. He then moved to Asmara for military campaign to reinforce the mission of socialist ideological order of the then regime. There he got an opportunity to secure some knowledge of literature.

    Read more at The EthiopianHerald


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