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Ethiopia’s Oromo region begins Irreecha festival3 minutes read

The annual Irreecha festival of the Oromo people marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the harvest season

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Ethiopia's Oromo region begins Irreecha festival
Thousands of Oromo people attend the "Irreecha" festival also known as Oromo Thanksgiving at Addis Ababa's Bishoftu town in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 5, 2019. Minasse Wondimu Hailu / Anadolu Agency

Members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group chanted and waved flags as they gathered Saturday for the first time to celebrate their thanksgiving festival in the capital Addis Ababa, a city that prominent members of the group claim belongs to them.

The annual Irreecha festival of the Oromo people marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the harvest season. 

It is traditionally held in the city of Bishoftu, located in the Oromia region some 50 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa. 

Many Oromo leaders argue that the capital is part of their group’s territory, meaning the decision to allow Irreecha celebrations there risked exacerbating ethnic tensions.

But a concert Friday night in the central Meskel Square and blessing ceremonies Saturday morning unfolded without incident. 

READ: Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians decry rise in persecution ahead of major holiday

Dawud Ibsa, leader of the opposition Oromo Liberation Front, a former rebel group, told reporters that Saturday’s celebrations were “very significant” for Oromos who believe their claims to Addis Ababa have not been respected. 

Ethiopia's Oromo region begins Irreecha festival
Thousands of Oromo people attend the “Irreecha” festival also known as Oromo Thanksgiving’ at Addis Ababa’s Bishoftu town in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 5, 2019. Minasse Wondimu Hailu / Anadolu Agency

“This is our turn and a revival of what is taken from you,” he said. 

In a park not far from Meskel Square, large crowds of mostly Oromos dipped flowers into pools of water and then sprayed themselves in a gesture symbolising gratitude and renewal. 

Yado Birhanu, a student, said celebrating Irreecha in Addis Ababa was fitting given the Oromos played a major role in anti-government protests that swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, himself an Oromo, to office in 2018. 

“We have sacrificed many young people to bring forth these reforms,” she said. 

In remarks at the concert Friday, Shimelis Abdisa, vice president of the Oromia region, struck a similarly triumphant tone.

“Today, we have crushed those who crushed us, and now the Oromo is winning back his respect right where he lost his dignity,” Shimelis said. 

“Today, our politics is coming from the periphery to the centre.” 

But Takele Uma, the Oromo deputy mayor of Addis Ababa, stressed on inclusion. 

“Now we are celebrating Irreecha with other nations and nationalities in the capital of Ethiopia,” he said. 

“We are doing this because Addis Ababa is home to every one of us.”

Tight security – 

Ethiopia's Oromo region begins Irreecha festival
Thousands of Oromo people attend the “Irreecha” festival also known as Oromo Thanksgiving’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 5, 2019. Minasse Wondimu Hailu / Anadolu Agency

Irreecha has already been a political flashpoint in recent years. 

In 2016, the use of tear gas and firearms by security forces sparked a stampede that killed dozens, some of whom drowned in a nearby lake. 

READ: Ethiopian youths “pimp out” jalopy Beetles to revive auto culture

The government put the death toll at 55, though Human Rights Watch later said it could have been in the hundreds.

The following year, Irreecha turned into an anti-government protest. 

Last year’s Irreecha, the first since Abiy came to power, was peaceful. 

The celebrations in Addis Ababa on Saturday will be followed by a larger event on Sunday in Bishoftu. 

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said the festival was expected to draw “millions of Oromos from all over the country as well as non-Oromo visitors from different parts of the country and other parts of the world.” 

Abiy said the festival was “a symbol of peace and unity,” Fana reported.

Security forces were nonetheless on high alert. Federal police on Thursday said they had detained a number of people with weapons who were seeking to “disrupt” the celebrations. 

By midday Saturday, the Addis Ababa Police Commission was reporting that it had gone off “without any security problems,” according to Fana. 

Security is expected to remain tight in Addis Ababa all weekend, and roads in the city centre were closed Saturday.

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Culture & Tourism

Southern Sun Ikoyi, Lagos Celebrates 10th Year Anniversary

Watch our coverage of the Southern Sun Hotel Ikoyi, Lagos’ 10th year anniversary celebration.

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Southern Sun Ikoyi, Lagos Celebrates 10th Year Anniversary

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Nigeria’s Chimamanda Adichie receives UN Global Leadership Award

Adichie is the youngest African and only Nigerian to have received the award

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Nigeria's Chimamanda Adichie receives UN Global Leadership Award
Photo credit: [Instagram/ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie]

Multiple-award-winning Nigerian Writer and Feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded with the prestigious UN Global Leadership Award by the United Nations, making her the youngest African and only Nigerian to have received the award.

Adichie was recognized for her work in Literature – most notably, her talent for using storytelling to connect with people across generations and cultures on issues related to gender, identity, racial inequality as well as for being a leader on the frontlines of global progress.

This landmark achievement comes just after Adichie’s famous novel, “Half of a Yellow Sun” was named in BBC’s 100 Novels that shaped our world.

The 2019 edition of the annual award, tagged; “We the people to honour the founding ideals and vision articulated in the UN Charter” held on the eve of the United Nations 75th anniversary.

Adichie joins the league of notable figures that have received the award in the past, which include former Presidents of America, President Bill Clinton, and Barrack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

Elated Adichie took to her Instagram account to announce the award.

Also honoured at the ceremony were Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, Gunhild Stordalen, Chair of the Stordalen Foundation and Founder of EAT, UN staff members who have worked on the frontlines of crisis response, amongst others.

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Complete list of the Future Awards Africa winners

Held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, the award ceremony was hosted by Falz and actress Toni Tones

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Complete list of the Future Awards Africa winners
Photo credit: https://thefutureafrica.com/

The 2019 Future Awards Africa took place at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, November 24, 2019.

The award recognizes the achievement of young Nigerian talents, innovators, entrepreneurs, and community advocates doing great in their various fields.

As usual, the annual award did not fall short of expectations. This year’s edition was themed “Nigeria’s New Tribe”. It was hosted by hip hop artist and rapper, Falz and actress Toni Tones.

Here is the complete list of the winners:

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR ACTING

Timini Egbuson (32) – Winner

Bimbo Ademoye (28)

Bandele ‘Baaj’ Adebule (30)

Sharon Ooja (28)

Fatima Washa Abdullahi (26)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR MUSIC 

Teniola Apata (26)

Damini Ebunoluwa ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu (28) –  Winner

Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana

John ‘Johny Drill’ Ighodalo (29) 

Sadiq ‘Wurld’ Onifade (32)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR AGRICULTURE

Emmanuel Maduka (24)

Chiamaka Ndukwu Theresa and Kenneth Okonkwo (25/25)

Uka Eje (29) – Winner

Divine-Love Akam (24)

Rotimi Olawale (29)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR ADVOCACY

Hamzat Lawal (32) – Winner

Bright Jaja (29)

Uchechi ‘Ucy’ Rochas (27)

Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti (30)

Funke Adeoye (27)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR ARTS (VISUAL & APPLIED)

Arinze Stanley (26)

Ken Nwadiogbu (25) – Winner

Dipo Doherty (28)

Olarinde Olayemi Ayanfeoluwa (22)

Olabanke Subair (28)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR COMMUNITY ACTION

Abdulazeez Kaltumi (27)

Yetunde Fadeyi (27)

Kelechukwu Nwachukwu Lucky (25)

Tony Joy (27)

Akpobi Elvis (31)

Isaac Success Omoyele (28) – Winner

Stephen Teru (29)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR FILM-MAKING

Kayode Kasum (28)

Dare Olaitan (28) – Winner

Chinney Love Eze (31)

Rahama Sadau (26)

Uche Odoh (30)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR LITERATURE

Akwaeke Emezi (32)

Ijeoma Umebinyuo (30)

Lanaire Aderemi (20)

Oyinkan Braithwaite (31)

Otosirieze Obi-Young (25) – Winner

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR MEDIA

Peace Itimi (24)

Paul Alasiri (27)

Edirin Edewor (28)

Samuel Ajiboye (28) – Winner

Tosin Olaseinde (31)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

Bukky Akomolafe (31) – Winner

Adesola Ade-Unuigbe (28)

Yinka Iyinolakan (30)

Onoriode Reginald Aziza (27)

Peter Tega Oghenejobo (32)

PRIZE FOR OAP (VISUAL & AUDIO)

Osato ‘EDK’ Edokpayi (27)

Huisaina ‘Dashen’ Usman (31)

Mayowa Ogundele – Adegoke (30)

Simi ‘Drey’Adejumo (21) – Winner

Sandra Ezekwesili (30)

PRIZE FOR PUBLIC SERVICE

Adetola Onayemi (28) – Winner

Ibijoke Faborede (31)

Moses Onalapo (29)

Dr Achama Eluwa (31)

Fehintola Ajogbasile and Judith Oguzie (27/32)

PRIZE FOR SPORTS

Al-farouq Aminu (29)

Georgia Oboh (18)

Eseoghene Oguma (21)

Samuel Chukwueze (23)

Israel Adesanya (30) – Winner

PRIZE FOR EDUCATION

Olaseni Cole (32) – Winner

Omozino Eguh (28)

Eyitayo Ogunmola (31)

Seyi Oluyole (27)

Farida Kabir (27)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR TECHNOLOGY

Chinedu Azodoh/ Adetayo Bamiro (29/32)

Zang Luka Bot (28) – Winner

Muhammad Salisu Abdullahi (28)

Timothy Adeleye (25)

Funfere Koroye (29)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR FASHION

Andrea Iyamah (26)

Derin Fabikun (29)

Tuboboreni Sandrah (28) – Winner

Osemwengie Victor Odion (31)

Kenneth Izedonmwen (29)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR BUSINESS

Adekunle Hassan (31)

Obi Ozor (30)

Chika Madubuko (30)

Olawale Ayilara (31) – Winner

Tiwalola Olanubi (31)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR JOURNALISM

Aisha Salaudeen (25)

Joey Akan (28)

Ayodeji Rotinwa (29)

Shola Lawal (25) – Winner

Kiki Mordi (28)

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Adah Clarence (30)

Yemi Ajala (31)

Praise Nnemeka (21)

Stephen Tayo (25)

Tolani Alli (27) – Winner

THE FUTURE AWARDS AFRICA PRIZE FOR YOUNG PERSON OF THE YEAR

Debo Ogundoyin (32)

Kenneth Udekwe (32)

Damini ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu (28) – Winner 

Copyright News Central

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