Africa’s last Emperor lived in Wimbledon

Haile Selassie (born 1892) was Ethiopia’s Regent from 1916 to 1930 and  its Emperor from 1930 to 1974.  When Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 he fled to UK, staying initially with a supportive family in Wimbledon (and later for 5 years here in Bath).  British support drove Italy from Ethiopia in 1941, enabling his return to Ethiopia.  His authoritarian style lead to some success, but finally to his being deposed and kept under house arrest until his death in 1975.

His stay in Wimbledon is  commemorated by his bust in Cannizaro Park.

There’s a good summary of Heile Selassie’s life here. 

The name “Haile Selassie” means “Might of the Trinity” and was claimed  by him on becoming Emperor in 1930.   His birth name given by his parents was Lij Tafari Makonnen. He was the only surviving son of the governor of Harar, Ras Makonnen Wolde Michael.  Hence RasTafari,  the name taken by the Rastafarian movement which developed in Jamaica fron the 1930s in the belief that he was the biblical promised saviour.  Jamaican born Bob Marley (1945-1981) remains the Rastafarian movement’s greatest “ambassador”.

 

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Haile Selassie in Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon.  Bust by Hilda Seligman [say 1935]

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Haile Selassie

Cannizaro Park is named after a village in Sicily, as explained here – and more fully here.

 

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Bob Marley, the Rastafarian movement’s greatest “ambassador”.

Sing along to ‘One Love’ –  lyrics here.

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