Heads of states from several eastern African countries gathered in October 2019 in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to celebrate the grand opening of Unity Park, an urban park located within the imperial palace.
The park — the personal initiative of Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — contains Ethiopia’s historical, ethnic and culture galleries. It also maintains a display of a colossal wax statue of Ethiopia’s past rulers including Emperor Menelik II and Emperor Haile Selassie — two monarchs whose combined reigns lasted about 70 years.
The park aims to tell the story of all Ethiopians and celebrate the country’s diverse ethnicities, religions, cultures, historical figures, and endemic plants and animals.
But a quick scroll through the news about the park’s opening on social media revealed politicized, nationalistic reactions with two mutually exclusive narratives that fell largely along ethnic lines of the two major ethnolinguistic groups: Amhara and Oromo.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.