President Mbeki speaks on the Battle of Adwa

President Thabo Mbeki will, at 16h00 today, address the “Annual African Unity for Renaissance Conference” currently taking place at Ditsong Museum of South Africa in Tshwane.

He will address the Conference on “The 120 Years of the Adwa African Victory.” Led by Empress Taitu, the wife of Emperor Menelik II, and the Emperor’s generals, the patriotic Ethiopian army defeated the Italian colonial forces at Adwa, Ethiopia on 1 March 1896 and thus secured Ethiopia’s independence from colonial rule.

The victory at Adwa would later serve as an inspiration in the struggle against colonial rule to subsequent generations of Ethiopians and other Africans throughout the Continent.

It also affirmed the role of women in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid. During the same year, 1896, the Zimbabwean female patriot, Nehanda Nyakasikana, would play a pivotal role in the First Chimurenga War of 1896–7 against British colonial settlers in Zimbabwe. She was later executed by the British.

Yet another important anti-colonial battle led by women on the Continent was the 1929 “The War of the Women” in Nigeria which was sparked by the colonial government’s plan to tax women, “the trees that bear fruit.” Led by an elderly woman named Nwanyeruwa, the protests started in one village and soon spread throughout South Eastern Nigeria.

A British District Officer at the time noted in trepidation and typical colonial condescension: “The trouble spread in the 2nd week of December to Aba, an important trading center on the railway. Here there converged some 10,000 women, scantily clothed, girdled with green leaves, carrying sticks. Singing angry songs against the chiefs and the court messengers, the women proceeded to attack and loot the European trading shops, stores, and Barclay’s Bank, and to break into the prison and release the prisoners.”

On Friday 27th May, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation in partnership with the University of South Africa (UNISA) will host the 7th Annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture at 18h00 at the ZK Matthews Great Hall, UNISA. Themed: “The International Criminal Court in Africa and Africa’s quest for Justice, Peace and Security,” the lecture will be delivered by the outstanding African jurist and Ugandan national, Barney Afako and followed by a panel discussion between Judge Afako, researcher, Ottilia Anna Maunganidze and President Mbeki.

The Ditsong Museums of South Africa is located at 70 Visagie Street, Tshwane.
Issued by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation
May 25, 2016
+27 11 486 1560

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