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Monday, 17 December 2012
DOWN TOWN ADDIS ABABA
Addis Ababa, which means "New Flower" in Amharic, is an intriguingly
indigenous African city. Its founding, growth and development are not
rooted in colonization. It is the capital city of Ethiopia and is
located about 2,500 m above sea level at 9.03° N 38.74° E. It is
Ethiopia's largest city and its administrative and communications
center. It is the main trade center for coffee, the country's chief
export, and for tobacco, grains, and hides.
he major industries produce food, beverages, processed tobacco,
plastics, chemical products, textiles, and shoes. The city is also the
center of the nation's service and finance sectors. Addis Ababa has a
large tourist industry. It is the hub of a highway network and a
terminus of a railroad that runs to Djibouti, making Addis Ababa an
important distribution center. The city lies at the foot of Mount
Before moving to the present site, Menelik II had established temporary
capitals at six different locations. The primary reason for the
continuing relocation of capitals was exhaustion of wood resources for
fuel and construction.
New capitals were prosperous for several decades until the sparse
forests around the city became depleted. Each capital went through a
stage of decline and was finally abandoned in favor of a new site.
In 1881, the powerful Emperor Menelik II and his followers moved to the
foothills of the Entotto mountains near present day Addis Ababa.
This temporary encampment in central Ethiopia had several advantages for
Menelik II: its location further south than any previous capital
allowed him to unite the southern reaches of the empire with the more
populated north under his rule; and, the site had historical
significance as a legendary camp of medieval kings.
More important than the comforts of the Addis Ababa site, was its potential for expansion.
The Entotto site was perched on a ridge and offered little room for
development of the grand city Menelik envisioned. The hills were also
limited in proximity to water and commerce routes.
In November 1886, while Menelik was off in a distant corner of the
empire, his wife Taytu moved the encampment from the hills down onto the
current site of Addis Ababa. Upon his return, Menelik apparently became
fond of the new location and in 1892 named the settlement, Addis Ababa,
proclaiming it the new and permanent capital of the Ethiopian Empire.
Addis Ababa became Ethiopia's capital when Menelik II became Emperor of Ethiopia. The town grew by leaps and bounds.
One of Emperor Menelik's contributions to the city is the planting of
numerous eucalyptus trees along the city streets which is still visible
After Menelik II’s death in 1913, his grandson, Lij Iyassu, inherited
throne but lost support because of his Muslim ties. He was deposed in
1916 by the Christian nobility, and Menelik's daughter, Zauditu, was