Yesterday Ethiopians have colorfully celebrated the 125th jubilee anniversary of the Victory of Adwa. In addition to the celebration that could be labeled as epic level here at home Ethiopians in various countries of the world have also done their best to commemorate the historical event that played a big role in changing the history of black people.
The historical significance of the victory achieved more than a century ago in this small town will never fade away. Rather it always gains more popularity for its role in inspiring black people to stand up to their rights and equality in the face of severe racial oppression and colonization.
The Victory of Adwa was achieved by a small and backward African country against a developed, well prepared European force. The major secret for the outstanding historical victory is the relentless unity of the people that left aside internal differences, economic, geographical and other challenges.
The victory achieved also leaves a lesson not only for Ethiopians as it is achieved against a continental challenge which victimized many other countries especially in Africa. Hence African countries should take lesson from the experiences of the winners of the battle 125 years ago and apply it to overcome current economic, social and political challenges.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history, according to history.com.
The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.
Though there is no direct historical linkage with it, the date of Victory of Adwa occurs closely along with the annual celebration of Black History Month. However, it is a good historical coincidence that the two big events take place annually as they can continue to further bring together black people around the world for a common good.
There are many instances to mention about the inspiration created by the Victory of Adwa. Newspapers and magazine in Europe and America gave coverage to the gallant victory by an African king over a European expansionist force giving clue that such incident is an unprecedented one in history.
The famous pan African movement also got momentum following the strong winner mentality sparked by the victory. The Ethiopianism movement also adopted its name following the outcomes of the victory of Adwa.
Hence people of African origin can manipulate the historical event to reinforce their solidarity and overcome the challenges they face at the moment. Many other examples can be mentioned about the fruitful outcomes that were inspired by the heroic deeds of the forefathers more than a century ago.
Yet, for African it is due to talk about the legacy of the victory as the victory could be said fully effective if it redeems the generation that followed from being victims of lack of unity and absence of development.
With this in mind, pan African leaders have effectively established the then Organization of African Unity, now evolved to African Union (AU) to reinforce the unity of the people of the continent.
After lagging for decades AU has adopted Agenda 2063, a blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into the global powerhouse of the future.
It is the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance The genesis of Agenda 2063 was the realisation by African leaders that there was a need to refocus and reprioritise Africa’s agenda from the struggle against apartheid and the attainment of political independence for the continent which had been the focus of The Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union; and instead to prioritise inclusive social and economic development, continental and regional integration, democratic governance and peace and security amongst other issues aimed at repositioning Africa to becoming a dominant player in the global arena.
The need to envision a long-term 50 year development trajectory for Africa is important as Africa needs to revise and adapt its development agenda due to ongoing structural transformations; increased peace and reduction in the number of conflicts; renewed economic growth and social progress; the need for people centered development, gender equality and youth empowerment; changing global contexts such as increased globalization and the ICT revolution; the increased unity of Africa which makes it a global power to be reckoned with and capable of rallying support around its own common agenda; and emerging development and investment opportunities in areas such as agri-business, infrastructure development, health and education as well as the value addition in African commodities.
Currently African countries are contending many issues that are affecting the lives of their people. The issues are related to economic and political challenges. Addressing these challenges need genuine commitment of the leaders for peace and unity as witnessed by Ethiopians during the battle of Adwa.