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Ever wondered what Ethiopia looked like in the 1930’s? I know I have. Now there is an opportunity for you to go back in time and see what it was all like through a photograph exhibition that opened on Friday April 19th, at Alliance éthio-française.
The photographic exhibition entitled, “A Dutch Visit to Ethiopia, 1930-1931” displayed photographs taken by a Dutch aristocrat, Binnert Phillip Baron van Harinxma thoe Slooten, and Biologist Gerrit Brouwer, who set sail for Ethiopia in October 1930 to study the country’s wildlife.
The exhibition had received a lot of attention at the Royal Tropical Institute (Tropenmuseum) in Amsterdam last year and provides insight into an historic event, which was the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie.
During their visit, Baron Van Harinxma took hundreds of pictures which are now featured in the exhibition. Baron Van Harinxma also wrote a book about his travels throughout Ethiopia in a book titled, “Across Abyssinia”.
Alliance éthio-française, along with the Embassy of Belgium, also organized a conference, in relation to Ethiopian History, entitled “1926-1970, 45 years of a man’s life devoted to Ethiopia” on Wednesday. The conference revolved around Belgian Maurice Weerts who had the privilege of witnessing Ethiopian history unfold from 1926 to 1970. At the conference, Jacques Weerts, the eldest son of Maurice Weerts, introduced his father’s memoirs, which were sometimes dramatic and often funny.
The conference explored the first encounters of Maurice Weerts with Ethiopia and the people living there at the time, the Italian fascist occupation, the Ethiopian resistance, the return of national sovereignty, the reconstruction of the economy and its development. It also took a look at Ethiopia’s market and products like oil, salt and sugar, plus Maurice’s collaboration with the government of the times, for industrial programs.
The 45-year history of an individual and his very colorful depiction of Ethiopia were truly interesting, taking us back in time with his vivid memories.