Ethiopian Millenium in Trafalgar Square

I have never seen as many Ethiopians in one place at one time except ofcourse when I was last in Ethiopia. But this is Trafalgar Square, the heart of London.
 It’s exillerating, breath taking. It’s the celebration of The Ethiopian Millenium which happens at midnight.    

It’s dusk and the more thenight darkens the stronger and more visible the stage becomes. Beside each side of the stage  which is magnificently lit in the Ethiopian  colours of red gold and green, the gigantic black Lions of Trafalgar

Many in the audience are dressed in the traditional white cloth with  the national colours.  I meet my friend and artist Whitney Mcveigh and we immerse ourselves in the crowds, the sounds, the atmosphere.  I am both elated and deeply sad.  

I watch the  dancers and singers upon the stage and listen to the speeches in the beautiful language of Amharic. And as I do the dancers become slow motion and the music echoes away far and distant from my mind. I turn and it is as if gravity has gone and we are all moving like we are weighted on the moon.    Children dance and bounce  with their parents in slow motion circles laughing. A strange echo of a childs laughter moves in and then out of my head. I see a brother meet his brother with joy, surprise and they hold out their arms laugh and hug each other.   All of this was taken away from me.  This is a family event. This oneness, this love; this recognition.  

A beautiful woman taps  me on the shoulder and looks into my eyes. She is Ethiopian and looks like my sister, she really does look like my sister. The sister I have in Ethiopia, her name is Wuleta. My eyes are glassy as this strange change in the atmosphere has affected me. I hear her speaking to me clearly now, and she says, this woman says, “me and my friends over there, we read your website and we are so proud of you.”.  Proud of me.  Somebody who looks like me, is proud of me.

4 thoughts on “Ethiopian Millenium in Trafalgar Square

  1. Yes we are so proud of you and we are so proud of your amazing success!!!… and the last time we where in south bank we saw your picture and me, my husband and my two daughters cheered and jumped up and dawn… My husband and I always wondered what you where doing from the last time we saw the first documentary you made with BBC when you went back to Ethiopia … and one Sunday night I was listening bbc radio special show and heard you and googled your name, as you say there is only one Lemn Sissay:-), and after that we've been follow your amazing work…and that day when I saw you @Trafalgar sq I couldn't believe it…one thing i regret though I should have introduced you to my husband and we should have given you that Ethiopian huge… its just that I was so nervous, didn't know what to say to you…may be next time
    till then keep up the good work … its always an incredible feeling when an Ethiopian do sooo very well… and we believe you are agreat ambassador for our community
    meron and her family

  2. Just so you know, why you may have overcome with strange feelings was perhaps it is because September 11 happen to be the anniversary of your *biological father's* passing to make his maker. Make sure you light up a candle for him every September 11th! Show respect.
    cognosco altus veritas

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