A post about Ethiopia that is not about Meles Zenawi’s regime. Next week (Tuesday 7 till Sunday 12 December 2010) the inaugural Addis Photo Fest, featuring a group of African and African diaspora photographers, takes over the Ethiopian capital. (The festival is curated by the young, photographer Aida Muluneh). One of the highlights is a retrospective of the work of London-based Shemelis Desta, who was official photographer to the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, from the early 1960s until Selassie was overthrown in a military coup in 1974. The photo above was taken in 1971 and shows the newly ordained second Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Theophilos, kissing Selassie’s hand as a sign of respect and gratitude. To learn more about Desta’s work and his impact, see here, here and here (The latter is an online gallery created by one of Desta’s two sons).

Below are two more of Desta’s pictures: When Britian’s Queen Elizabeth came to visit Selassie in 1965 and when Fidel Castro came to see Selassie’s conquerer, Mengisto Haile Mariam in 1977.

Further Reading

The academic game

African Studies scholars write for the gate-keepers, to prove our own legitimacy, for the stimulation of conferences and the relief of rising recognition by algorithms.

Lagos gone to seed

The Nigerian drama “Òlòtūré,” about sex work and sex trafficking in the country’s commercial capital, which premiered on Netflix, is mostly uncomfortable. And not in a good way.

The politics of influence

Influence exhilarates. It also makes people nervous. Writers, artists, scholars, researchers—we all seem to want to be “influential.” Less often do we want to admit to being “influenced.”

Good influence

It is unfair to expect coherent politics from Naira Marley or his fans, the Marlians. We should, instead, chastise the Nigerian state for stifling its people and keeping its young perpetually waiting.