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Rastafari in Lusoland

King Haile Selassie's visit to Portugal in 1959
1st May – 24th July 2010

This summer the Brunei Gallery, SOAS will be showing a documental exhibition commemorating King Haile Selassie's visit to Portugal in 1959, a key period for the understanding of some of the events that led to the independence of many African countries, and to the delay of the independence of many others, and to the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1962.

On June 23rd 1959, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I departed from Addis Ababa on a state tour to six countries. Egypt (June 23rd – 29th), the USSR (June 30th – July 13th), Czechoslovakia (July 13th – 17th), Belgium (July 17th – 20th), France (July 20th – 24th) and Portugal (26th – 31st).

He also made a private visit to Yugoslavia in early September, after a month’s holiday in Germany where he spent at least one week in Baden Baden to rest and cleanse his body after the highly demanding diet of the previous five weeks and went to Bad Nauheim to meet King Ibn-Saud of Arabia. These were the countries whose people would have the ‘opportunity to meet this statesman’ and whose leaders ‘would have the stimulating effect of personal knowledge’ of the Ethiopian emperor, according to the Ethiopian Herald editorial the day he left.

This exhibition was originally presented in Addis Ababa University (institute of Ethiopian Studies) and in Lisbon (ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute) in June 2009.