Haile Selassie

According to Ethiopia constitution, the emperor was decended directly from the marriage of Solomon and Sheba.

Selassie had ruled Ethiopia since 1916 first as regent, then as emperor from 1930. Under the civil code of Ethiopia, promulgated in 1967 tenants were required to pay 75% of their produce to landlords, to provide free labour for the landlord’s farm, free transport for his crops, free firewood for his fuel, free service as domestic servants, cooks and guards, and free construction of his granaries. In some places where peasants had special skills in pottery, weaving, tanning or metal work, they were bound by law to provide these services free as well. Tenants lived in perpetual fear of eviction.

Selassie’s favourite son, Leul Makonnen, the Duke of Harrar, was killed in a car accident in 1957. His eldest son, the Crown prince, Asafa Woosen, he never trusted. Selassie insisted on retaining personal control of even small administrative details.

At the Jubilee palace where he lived, his routine was to take an early morning walk in the park, stopping by the cages of lions and leopards to feed them with chunks of meat.

Haile Selassie reached the age of 80 in July 1972, having held absolute power for longer than any other figure in contemporary history.

September 11th 1974 nine princesses, including the Emperor’so sole surviving daughter and seven granddaughters, we’re imprisoned in a dungeon like cell, their heads shaved, allowed only two mattresses to share between them.

Haile Selassie watched a film that a British television documentary showed called The Hidden Famine, which was an expose examining how thousands of men, women, and children had been allowed to starve in Wollo the previous year. It was spliced with scenes showing the Emperor and his entourage drinking champagne, eating caviar and feeding meat to his dogs from a silver tray.

Haile Selassie died a prisoner on August 27th 1975, his body was buried beneath a lavatory in the palace, remaining hidden there for 16 years.

In Jamaica he was worshipped as a living God (Jah) by adherents of Rastafarianism, a religion that emerged in the late 1930s and took its name from Haile Selassie’s original title, Ras Tafari.

Haile Selassie ruled Ethiopia, as Franz Fanon wrote in the Wretched of the Earth, argued that Africa had achieved only a false decolonisation, leaving the real power in the hands of foreigners and their agents among the ruling elite.

Haile Selassie ruled the same as the white man had treated black people, they were treated as slaves in Ethiopia they had to give up 75% of their produce and what was left had to give provide free labour leaving them next to nothing.

Franz Fanon also said that drawing on his experience of the Algerian war, he maintained that violence had positive and creative qualities.

This worked in the case of Haile Selassie a tyrant was overthrown.

Reference: The State of Africa by Martin meredith


5 thoughts on “Haile Selassie

  1. it seems “chopped up” .there seems to be no continuity between statements..for example, you were speaking of him reaching the age of eighty then immediately after were speaking of his grand daughters. it makes for a really tough read. also, sources in an historic posting are much to be desired. I would suggest next historic posting has the appropriate references for those that wish to learn more or to check the facts given.


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