Home > City Journal > On the Eve of the Ethiopian Millennium

On the Eve of the Ethiopian Millennium

September 13, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Tuesday, Pagume 6, 1999 E.C

Eve of the Ethiopian New Year and the Ethiopian Millennium

After three months of bitter, vexing Kiremet Addis Abeba has a bright radiance.Spring is around the corner and the sun has this plethora of smiles you want to bask in for the whole day.It was the last day of the twenty century and there was a lovely anticipation of the dawn of the new Ethiopian Millennium.

Addis was reading to party until dawn, the swell of preparation of the past months was on its final day.However hard one tried, it was next to impossible not to be excited and energized by this bustle of preparation.Beneath the cleaning and polishing work, the sights of lights and decors installed, amid the rhetoric of the new “Ethiopia”, ran a current of expectation that was the essence of the Millennium festivities.

At around 6.00 I sat at a popular outdoor cafe near Ghion hotel, in front of Gandi Hospital.Day-light was ebbing away.

I’ve ordered a macchiato and started leafing through the busy pages of Addis Admass that came out on that day.It was a special millennium edition and they had reprinted some of thier better written articles.

A middle-aged man who sat next me was stealing a glance at my paper, and I decided to offer him so that he would take a glance at it, which he accepted readily.From what I had eavesdropped in his cellpone conversation, he had a full programme mapped out for himself for the night.I sort of felt bad for not setting any real plans for this big night.

I’ve taken another look at the passing crowd.People of every kind were marching in droves to the National Stadium, one of the major venues where residents were set to party all night long.Here, there was no admission fee, and this means it would be teemed with urban organism.Not only grown adults but also smartly dressed younger boys and girls who seem eager to be out in the open nocturnal air were in the crowd.

I’ve never seen Addis so abounded with such air of lavish joy, a feeling of opulence- and a heedless sense of independence.Free spirit and  jubilant energy dominated the evening.

A few hours later, I was joined by one of my beer drinking mate and we decided of going to the better-lit and better-paved Bole streets, intending to poke around at the newly- built Millennium Hall.It was a 10 million dollar concert hall, all done in three months with Sheik Alamudin’s finance.Buying the 1,500 Birr ticket was clearly beyond my meagre income.

My friend and I first walked down to Meskel Square, where there was a huge display of white pigeons, flags and signs.The area around the square was swarming with the shoppers of the exhibiton center, short-wearing pedlars and lost-looking tourists.It seemed enormous- a sprawl of dim yellow lights and slow-moving traffic.

There was extravagance and grandeur all around.

(To be continued)

Categories: City Journal
  1. rad
    September 17, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Nice description of addis’s eve of the milennium-you loos most of your beer mates anyways!Cheers

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