Ethiopia – The “New Flower”

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Africa’s diplomatic capital and symbol of the African renaissance, Addis Ababa is living an extraordinary transformation. Included by New York Times and Lonely Planet in the list of the world’s most interesting cities to visit thanks to its vibrant cultural scene, the “swinging Addis” is evolving at a very fast pace, experiencing a stable economic growth and a massive urban expansion. The “forest city” founded by Emperor Menelik II has developed to a modern “concrete jungle”. As new concrete-and-glass skyscrapers come up like mushrooms, the traditional neighborhoods made of wood and mud are blown down to make room for a new skyline worthy of a modern global capital. The City’s highway network grows larger and larger, while traffic increases dramatically. The light train line which recently came in operation seems not enough for counteracting the frenzy that has seized the city. Torn between great expectations in the “New” coming forth and bewilderment caused by the chaos growing all around, Addis’ inhabitants wait patiently and confidently for the dust of the city-yard to fade out and the train of modernity to allow them all get up. Will Ethiopia’s traditions and roots be strong enough to stand the impact of “Development”? Will the East Africa “peaceful island” resist notwithstanding the greater inequalities brought forth by economic growth?

 

New Bole roadAn informal settlment in Gabriel church areaMeskel square, main Addis Ababa squareThe new railway at Atekilit Tera, main fruit and vegetable marketAn informal settlment at Wube Braha district which will be cleared soonNew popular houses at Arat Kilo districtPiassa, Addis central areaThe new light train passing trough the City centerErii Bekentu, a central informal settlment which will be cleared soonA mall during Christhmas timeAtekilit Tera, main fruit and vegetable market which will be cleared soonHilton hotel swimming-poolTraditional tailor shop in Erii bekentu, a central informal settlment which will be cleared soonMichael churchNew Addis suburb popular housesThe new railway at Kazanchis districtPolo match at Jalmeda Park. Addis is the home of a great bourgeois awakeningTraditional neighborhoods at Piassa, central City areaEthiopian movie stars Messeret Meberate and Zinahbzu Tsegaye at the film premiere of Thomas Gethacew’s Tsenu, at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis AbabaAlemayehu Eshete performing at Selam music festival. During the Seventies he was called the Ethiopian Elvis PresleyThe Addis Ababa Museum, built on a hill over Meskel squareThe Color of the Nile International Film Festival (Coniff) opening ceremonyThe dancer Melaku Belay performing with Samuel Yirga at Selam music festivalJazzamba, Addis most famous jazz clubSamuel Yirga, new Ethio-jazz starCoffee shop at Wube Braha districtPiassa, Addis central areaErii Bekentu districtDoro Manekia, an informal settlment in the City centerBella neighborhoodHistoricla Woli Mohammed house in Kazanchis neighborhoodBackstage work during the Coniff. The development of the Ethiopian film industry over the past few years has created many job opportunities for the local youth“Gumma awards” took place in Addis Ababa’s National Theatre for the first time in 2014, and quickly transformed themselves in a glamorous window for the celebration of the Ethiopian star systemOld Indian building used as a prison during the Italian fascist occupationOld Indian house at Wube Braha districtDoro Manekia, an informal settlment in the City centerTomoca Café, the oldest coffee shop in AddisDoro Manekia, an informal settlment in the City centerTaxi driver coffee breakNew light train undeground stationPeople waitng for Tabot coming to Urael churchArat Kilo squareNew popular houses at Arat Kilo districtUnited Nations buildingOrtodox Church headquarterThe new African Union building, completed in 2012, was financed by the PRC for 200milions dollarDerg monument. The Communist Party ruled Ethiopia between 1974 and 1987

Capitale diplomatica dell’Africa e simbolo del suo rinascimento, Addis Abeba vive una trasformazione straordinaria. Inserita da New York Times e Lonely Planet tra le città più interessanti da visitare al mondo per il suo vibrante panorama culturale, la “swinging city” vanta una crescita economica costante e un massiccio sviluppo urbano. La “città foresta” fondata dall’imperatore Menelik II è diventata una moderna “concrete jungle”. Nuovi grattacieli in vetro-cemento spuntano come funghi, mentre i tradizionali quartieri-villaggio fatti di baracche di legno, terra e paglia vengono rasi al suolo per lasciar spazio a una sky-line degna di una capitale globale. La rete autostradale è ogni giorno più vasta e trafficata, mentre la metropolitana di superficie appena entrata in funzione non sembra sufficiente ad arginare la frenesia che si è impossessata della città. Combattuti tra l’entusiasmo per il nuovo che avanza e lo sconcerto per il caos che li circonda, gli abebini attendono con pazienza e fiducia che la polvere della città-cantiere si diradi e il treno splendente della modernità faccia salire a bordo finalmente anche loro. Tradizioni e radici saranno abbastanza forti da reggere all’impatto di un progresso dalla lingua biforcuta? L’isola di pace dell’Africa orientale terrà nonostante la crescente disparità finanziaria che sta accompagnando la crescita economica?

 

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