Timkat is here. Epiphany.
In the morning, christian crowds gather to be blessed.
Hoses sprinkle holy water.
It was because of the springs that the empress convinced the nomad
emperor to settle here. She called it New Flower.
But this land already had a name, before the Abyssinians set camp.
Across the Atlantic, a prophecy was made.
A lion arrived, and his name travelled the world.
A new palace was built. Guenete Leul, Paradise of Princes.
This is where during the occupation, a failed attempt to assasinate
the Italian viceroy led to the massacre of thousands, men, women and children.
The lion was not there. He returned incognito, under the name of Mr. Strong.
On Haile Selassie’s bedroom mirror, there is a bullet hole.
After the 1960 plot against him, he delivered the palace grounds to the Ethiopian youth.
The University. The unmaking of his own legacy.
In the city outskirts, students and farmers are protesting.
The other day, there were rumours that a young woman was shot on campus by a sniper.
Military police are lining the streets. The African Union is holding a summit.
This year’s focus is on women’s rights.
Robert Mugabe is chairman.
It is here, that Thomas Sankara spoke out against debt. The Addis Ababa Club.
Haile Selassie inaugurated Africa Hall in 1961.
A year later, his wife passed away. Menen Asfaw liked to retreat in the green foothills of Mount Entoto.
The park was nationalised by the regime. It is now a popular site for weddings.
Menen was buried in the Holy Trinity cathedral.
Haile Selassie’s remains were laid next to hers almost forty years later.
They were discovered when the regime fell, concealed beneath the palace floor.
The mausoleums behind the cathedral, are also inhabited by the living.
Nearby, in the zoo, a lion is sleeping.
The Lion of Judah kept lions himself.
It is said that the ones in the zoo are descendants of his own. The last Abyssinian lions.
These photographs were made between January and February 2016.