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A poetic tribute to the Inaugural Session of Parliament

Addis Abeba
A cherished Andromeda
Home of denizens and dreamers
Promethean fount of Africa’s new millennium
Ophiric gilding has cast you in the mode
Of the Kushite craft
So upon your shoulders
Let us stand
with heroic postures,
A hand shielding our eyes
As we gaze at the lay of the land
Toward great wonders north
over Meroe and Napata, past Karnak,
then arc slowly wide and westward
through Carthage to Timbuktu's horizon
and now inward
to Mandara's granite terraces
and southward again
first to Bigo bya Mugyenyi
across the old Shenzi heartland
and beyond Izimba za Mabwe
And then
raising our arm in a fist of glory
the African salute
Or perhaps placing our other hand
On our hearts
Let us lift every voice

Poem by Kashagama

Below: Footnotes

Addis Abeba:
the Capital of the African Union. "Addis Abeba" means "New Flower".

the daughter of Cepheus, an African king, and his wife, Cassiopea. When Cassiopea boasted about the beauty of her daughter, the gods punished her by unleashing a sea monster to ravage Africa. In order to end the ordeal the gods required that Andromeda be sacrificed to the monstrous oceanic creature. Andromeda was then bound to a rock in the middle of the ocean to wait for death by the monster, but she was rescued and lived to become a queen. Andromeda also had a constellation named after her. The name Andromeda means "ruler of men".

is the archetypal hero who stole fire from the gods in order to give it to the people, and who taught knowledge to humanity. The name Prometheus means "Forethought".

refers to the ancient land in Africa called Ophir that was renown for gold and precious metals and stones. The name Africa is actually the latin version of Ophir. Ophir was located in Southern Africa.

the process of making things golden, usually by gold plating. It also means to beautify or to turn something into a thing of great value.

anything related to ancient Kush. Kush was the longest lived African civilization. Ancient Egyptians adopted pharonic culture from the Kushites. The Kushite empire's capital cities were located in Sudan and Southern Egypt. Over the course of several thousand years the Kushite empire from time to time covered the whole of Africa. The last golden age of ancient Egypt was presided over by a Kushite dynasty. The last indigenous Egyptian pharoah died in exile in the Kush. "Kushite" also refers to any of a number of dynasties that ruled other parts of Africa, and to African cultural artefacts and traditions that were associated with ancient Kushites.

Kushite Craft:
Kushites were renown for stable political leadership. One of the female dynasties of Kush lasted over a thousand years. The Kushites also defended Africa against foreign invaders including the Romans, Assyrians, and Persians. The Kushites also were famous because of their international activities and counted among their allies the Chinese, Indians, Greeks etc. The most famous Kushite dynasties included such kings as Sesostris III, whose Kushite garrisons, including one at Colchis on the Black Sea, helped restore order to the Caucasus region around 1800 BC. Taharka, a Kushite prince, was the commander of an African army that saved Jerusalem from annihilation by the Assyrians in 701 BC.

ancient capital of Kush, located in Sudan. Meroe was originally called Sheba. It was renamed by Cambyses after his sister Meroe. Cambyses was a Persian king who claimed the right to be pharaoh of Egypt and Kush, probably on account of the fact that his mother was an African princess.

ancient Kushite capital, located in Sudan.

ancient capital of the Canaanites. Cathage was founded by the Phoenician princess Dido. The ancient Canaanites returned from the Levantine to found cities in North Africa. According to Robert Graves, the preeminent historian of the 20th century, the Canaanites, including the phoenicians, had originated in Central and East Africa before they settled in the Mediteranean.

ancient place of worship, located in Egypt. The ruins of Karnak form one of the world's largest temple complexes.

Probably the most famous city in African history. Timbuktu on the Niger's inland delta was the center of scholarship and international trade for nearly two thousand years. It was the leading city of several African dynasties including ancient Ghana.

spectacular ancient granite fortifications and garden terraces are found in the Mandara mountains in Cameroon.

Bigo bya Mugenyi:
capital of the ancient empire of Kitara. Kitara covered much of central and east Africa. "Bigo bya Mugenyi" means "City of Mugyenyi", Mugyenyi being the name of a hero. However, the "Bigo bya Mugyenyi" also means "City for the Guest". Bigo consists of several old ruins, including a giant moat, several miles long, with iron ramparts in some places. The city was surrounded by a complex of defensive ditch earthworks. The massive earthworks were probably used to hide thousands of troops and supplies and also to break up the formations of opposing armies. The most famous dynasty to have ruled Kitara was that of the "Chwezi", probably a variant on the name Shenzi.

ancient African peoples who became dominant (after 4 BC) in eastern, central and southern Africa. The Shenzi dynasty was devasted by the rise of Arab imperialism, slavery and war with the Islamic and Christian armies (beginning in 652 AD). Many Shenzi people were deported to work for the Abbasid Caliphate as slaves draining the salt marshes of southern Iraq. They carried out three massive revolts, the first in 866 AD, was led by a captive called Sharih Habash.

The longest revolt lasted from AD 869 to 883, during which the Shenzi built a state covering southern Iraq, Bahrain and Southwestern Iran with its capital at Basra. During their 15 year uprising the Shenzi rebels acquired siege-laying catapults; flame-throwers; rapid chariots; multi-headed arrows. They trained expert engineers who blocked the enemy's advance by constructing impenetrable fortresses, cocooned inside layers of water canals or conversely built rapid bridges and communication lines. They possessed war ships and freighters. In one battle alone they overcame the Caliph's navy to capture 24 ships. In the end the revolt in Iraq was defeated after a two year siege of the Shenzi city of al-Mukhtarah. The Shenzi rebels, most of whom did not speak Arabic and were not moslem, were defeated by the Abbasid general al-Muwaffaq with the help of reinforcements from Egypt.

The Sung Shi (History of the Sung Dynasty) record visits to China in 1071 CE and 1081-3 CE of the embassy of Zenjistan. Zenjistan is the Persian for "Land of the Shenzi", in Africa. The leader of the embassy, whose name is recorded in Chinese as Zengjiani, made a considerable impression at the imperial court (the Chinese called Africa "Zengdan" and the Shenzi traded with the Han, as well as the Ming dynasty). On his 2nd visit, he received a large amount of "white gold" in exchange for tribute, and was given treatment due an honored guest. He is said to have taken 160 days to reach China, passing through Sohar in Oman, Kulam-Malay in South India and Palembang in Sumatra. Today in Africa the word Shenzi is an insult eqivalent to the word "Nigger", "Kaffir" or "blackie" and refers to a black person or anyone or anything indigenous to Africa, or anything that is foolish or regressive. Also a species of dogs, and other species of animals and plants indegenous to Africa are called Shenzi or its variant, Ba'Sendji. In many places in East Africa activities that involve ancient African religious practices are called Shenzi, Senzi, Seezi, shenda, shuezi, chwezi, chechezi, etc. It is important to maintain the memory of our Shenzi ancestors and to rehabilitate their name.

Despite decline in Africa and abroad the Shenzi held on to most of Africa's east coast, from Somalia to Mozambique, through the attacks by the Portuguese and the choas of the slave trade, until the early 1800s. Arabic texts refer to them as the "Zanj", and Zanzibar is named after them.

Izimba za Mabwe:
translates "Houses of Stone" and refers to massive ancient megalithic ruins in southern Africa that are designed with anthropomorphic architecture. One of the larger sites is in the shape of a child in a fetal position. Zimbabwe, the republic in southern Africa, takes its name from the ancient site.