Touchdown. It’s fifty years since the founding summit of The Organisation of African Unity and African Union. Addis Ababa is gearing up for its Golden Jubilee Celebrations. In a few days many heads of state from this great continent will arrive. Right now this is one of the most secure cities in the world.
Addis is drawing breath and dusting itself off before the ceremonies begin. I’m staying at Jupiter Hotel in Bole. They surprise me with a cake. It’s not just the birthday of The Organization of Africa unity and African Union you know. It’s my birthday too. I landed in Ethiopia on my birthday. It’s a recognition of another debatable union I guess.
I’ve had some great birthdays in Africa. This is the first in Ethiopia. I visit the British Council offices. They’re celebrating their 70th year in Addis. Next door is the largest British Embassy in the world. It’s where the Ethiopian royal family found exile during the Derg.
Later I meet Wuleta (my sister) and Abebe (the man who brought me here) and Ephrem the poet. Wuleta is an operational analyst at World Bank. If you want to know how Ethiopia is developing she’s the one. Afterwards Hannah and I take off to Jolly Bar and Grill – established 1959. We hang out with Aida Muluneh director of Addis Photofest. Another birthday cake arrives. ANOTHER birthday cake arrives.