Time Flowing in Two Directions

Words by Temesgen Naji
Photographs by Luca De Santis

A little bit more than a century ago, the Empress of the Ethiopian Empire Taitù Batùl founded the city. In Addis time goes in both directions, back and forward. 

Yesterday        Italy, Mussolini

Piazza, mercato, popolare, Kazanchis (oldest area of Addis), places with Italian names. Italian architecture is dominant in these places. 

Today        Jazz

You see tolerance at its best when you watch different religions living in harmony. The proper nickname for the city, though, should be “cultural synergy”, since different cultures live together, side by side. And, quite easily, their harmony reminds me of jazz: there’s always a moment for individual improvisation, and it never destroys the melody. 

Tomorrow        China and Hollywood

China’s influence on the city’s infrastructural landscape of tomorrow is evident in large-scale Chinese construction sites. On the other hand, Hollywood too has put its feet on the ground in Addis. Young people dress as in Hollywood, speak as in Hollywood. Hollywood imports its culture through movies and music, while China through its commodities. 

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