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The Role of Ethiopia in Pan-Africanism and W.E.B Du Boisian’s


Ethiopia is referred to as the land of origin as well as the country of 13’th months of sunshine. The idea of the land of ancestry derived from, Lucy (Australopithecus) which was found in 1974 at Hadar, Awash valley, in Ethiopia by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and others. Archeologist claim that Lucy was a kind of human being (ancestor) who were up and walking around long before the earliest stone tools confirmed the finds of much earlier bipedal hominids. however, the Ethiopian calendar consists of twelve months with a full of thirty days as well as five or six days per four lunar years a one, which makes the 13th month accordingly.

Ethiopia, in its modern history, even though it passes through a lot of upsides-down socio-economic and political situations in domestic circumstances as a government, however, it plays a great role model for Black people or Africans in the past and present. To mention a few, one of the historical worlds turned upside down moments called the battle of Adwa victory in 1896 against European colonialism, Italy, was the best example. A peace agreement deal was undertaken in November 2022, between Tigray regional states and Ethiopia Government pretending to “African problems by African’s solution” movement led by the AU to end Ethiopian internal conflict in South Africa, Pretoria, and then late at Kenya, Nairobi.

In historical development, the movement of pan-African plays a great role in the formation of the organization African Unity (OAU), the current AU (African Union), which moves one step forward the pan-Africanism to upper level in gradual progress. The purpose of the OAU was to liberate other African countries under colonial power during the period. Ethiopia, Addis Ababa city is the place to hold and still make home AU office until today. This paper aims to present the role of Ethiopia in Pan-Africanism and the effort of prominent scholar Du Boisian’s contribution as well.

The Overview of The Battles of Adwa Victory 1896

Several writers call this victory an African victory against white supremacy. They defined also it as the first African army won over a European army in world history over a colonial power. This war victory confirmed to stop of Italy or European expansion, particularly in Ethiopia, and reveals clearly the independence through a successful self-defense mechanism. This victory makes Ethiopia the first and ever country to prove its dependence on the colonial power, Italy, at the battle of Adwa. Therefore, the battle of Adwa commences a new phenomenon and paradigm in Africa and black nations across the globe to resurrection black against white supremacy. After this victory, the resistance in serving as well as utilizing as a subject of slavery activities erupted and increased against colonial power by black people at large. The revolution movement sparked toward ending and stopping white supremacy against black people through any sacrifice within all necessary prices.

Obviously, Africa (i.e., Ethiopia) is a land of origin for human beings and a historically rich continent with an ancient Egyptian pyramid, its own alphabet and language, natural resources, and civilization spark in Africa. Therefore, by connecting the past civilized rich history to the present technological eras it’s possible to change the livelihoods of the African society welfare more practically than theoretically or ideologically, particularly, rather than lip service as well.

The main secret of the success of Ethiopian victory against European colonialism, in Italy, was unity, without an economic, religious, or ethnic difference, especially the “galvanizing Ethiopians from all strata of the kingdom in successful defense of the empire, the Empire created a model for pan-African Unity.”

W.E.B Du Bois and Pan-Africanism

William Edward Burghardt (W. E. B.) Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, after the American civil war three years later, in 1864, in a small town in western Massachusetts.

He was a prominent and leading American philosopher, sociologist, historian, political activist, Pan-Africanists, and prolific writer and editor of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as he is also known as a leading scholar regards to Ethiopia's causes in the middle of 20th century.

Du Boisian's works and advocacy pan-Africanism focused on Ethiopia's story. His pan-African vision mainly linked to promoting and propagating the spirit of Ethiopia's unity in line with the victory of Adwa's battles over Italy as a kind of best model for pan-Africanism. He tried to organize, meet, and arrange various conferences and write several notes and films regarding Black nations, particularly, promoting Ethiopia and Black American relations and another world in accordance with pan-African ideology.

The main aim of pan-Africanism was a form of a movement dedicated to “establishing independence for African nations and cultivating unity among black people throughout the world.” Currently, AU is referred to as a crucial and prominent organization as a symbol and milestone of a pan-Africanist organization established in 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to Du Bois's thesis, the term Pan-Africanism is referred to “African nationalism, the African personality, Negritude, African Socialism”. Furthermore, there is no single definition exist regards to Pan-Africanism, yet, but some of the common definitions of Pan-Africanism is the idea that peoples of African descent have common interests and should be unified (, a movement for the political union of all the African nations (, relating to all African countries or the advocacy of political unity among African countries (, is an international movement to unite and strengthen the relationship between those who are of African descent (, etc.

Several studies discuss and present the importance of pan-Africanism. Especially, the prominent scholarly “W.E.B. Du Bois’s life history and his contribution related to pan-Africaism and Du Bois!s Ethiopian pan-Africanism relation in “Journal of Black studies 00(0), by Wayne A.Rose”. The article summarizes that Ethiopia was the “savior of black pride and dignity” for all Black African since the event of 1896 the defeated the Itay at Adwa battles … as well as the victory of Adwa secured the sovereignty of Ethiopia and elevated the morale of all Africans, particularly those with pan-African orientations.”

Depending on pan-Africanism ideology the historian, Hakim Adi, explains some key principles or features of Pan-Africanism into two categories as follows: establishing an African nation (contains African people, whether that be people from Africa or Africans from around the world) and sharing a common culture (They also believe in advocacy for African rights and the protection of African culture and history).

Therefore, Ethiopians, Du Boisian, and other black African scholars as well as leaders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries strongly struggled with white supremacy in order to end colonialism from the colonial power by establishing an organization of African unity which is serving to propagate African independence from colonialist as well as all kinds of exploitation at large.

Conclusions and Remarks

The battle of Adwa thought us several lessons for contemporary generations. In the beginning, the role of leadership, the unity of the army chief and soldiers' and solidarity lessons for current African leaders and chief of army generals and among other stakeholders. The other lesson is the spirit of freedom, unity, and a new strategy to fit current's and future for next-generation benefits at large, in terms of technology, liberty, financial development, financial freedom, soft power diplomacy as well as political relationships, and diplomacy power at the global stage as African patriotism spirit. Currently, African trade is underperforming across the continent special between the countries in intra-relations and in integral aspects.

Based on a pan-African spirit enhancing the main agenda such as green energy investment, sustainable economic growth and development, economic stability, and production of value-added products and services in agriculture, mining, industry, tourism, innovation, etc are in line with the technological revolution and depends on far sight views to catch up the African prosperous. And also, focus on promoting the continent's socio-economic-political, cultural as well as peace and security issues for people's well-being.

Despite, the bad days and dark days in the past in Africa, today there is a lot of potential and promises in the continent for good progress. Cultivating good practice requires the protection of great history as well as improving African people's life in line with Pan-African ideology and realizing economic development and growth in the continent currently. For instance, after all that dark days, today Rwanda is the brightest country to its outshining Tourism infrastructure slogan “visit Rwanda”, the cleanest and green city in Africa. Economical integration and trade ecosystem framework facility toward 2063 Africa Union first century celebration. AU mediates African issues or conflict resolution by Africans between the Northern part of Ethiopia's Tigray Region and the Ethiopia Government to end two years of internal conflict.


Jonas, Raymond. (2011), The Battle of Adwa: AFRICAN VICTORY IN THE AGE OF EMPIRE, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts • London, En gland.

Wayne A.Rose, (2019), W. E. B. Du Bois: Ethiopia and Pan-Africanism, Journal of Black Studies 1–22, DOI: 10.1177/0021934719833394

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