The African Union has paid reverence to one of the most iconic African revolutionaries, Haile Selassie I by unveiling a statue at the headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The statues was officially unveiled by the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Rwanda's president Paul Kagame, Ghana's president Nana Akufo-Addo, and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The artists who brought it to life are Bekele Mekonnen, Mesfin Tesfaye and Henock Azene, who are all Ethiopians.
Haile Selassie's statue becomes the second one to be erected at the AU headquarters. In 2012, Kwame Nkrumah's statue was unveiled. Kwame Nkrumah is respected for how he championed Pan-Africanism, especially at a time when colonial forces did not want to see any advancement being championed by African leaders.
The unveiling of Haile Selassie's statue sends a very strong message of Pan-Africanism across Africa. Haile Selassie was one of the leaders who were instrumental in the formation of the continental body, when it was still called the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
Haile Selassie was the leader of Ethiopia at the time (1963), being Emperor of the country. He was the last Emperor of the country. He was deposed in 1974 through a coup after some resentment had grown against him.
Selassie uttered some iconic words when the organisation was formed. "May this convention of union last 1,000 years," he said.
Ethiopia has long been viewed as a beacon of African independence. The country was never colonized - although it was subjected to a five-year military occupation by Mussolini's Italy.
Ethiopians have hailed this development from the African Union.
Header image credit: @terrefebiruk on Twitter