Obviously, this issue is packed with a lot of information from various aspects of the Afrikan narrative, and all the featured articles are carefully written to both inform and
also show Afrikans the weakness of the various decisions and choices we Afrikans have been making and how they may affect our future and the generation next.
It is almost not fair to make this Issue Two about our most favorite Afrikan nation-Ethiopia and then not write about the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A visit to the AU headquarters in December 2018 by the Msingi Afrika Magazine team was such a beautiful experience.
Beautiful, not because we had access to see the fine architecture, walked around taking photos of various art works from all over Afrika displayed at various
locations, but because it was a significant spiritual assignment which connects directly to the spiritual emancipation of Afrika. Why so? He who controls the
seat of eldership controls the community. I will talk about that a bit more shortly.
About the conference center
The AU Conference Center and Office Complex (AUCC) is a building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is the headquarters of the Afrikan Union and plays host to the annual
AU summits. It also serves as a conference center for Afrikan and diaspora businesses. The main building is 99.9 meters (328 feet) tall and it is the tallest building in Addis Ababa. Its cost was US$200 million funded by the Chinese
The main hall of the AUCC.
The wooden veneer on the walls was imported from China. The main building was designed and built by a collaboration of Tongji University, China State Construction Engineering and the China Architecture and Design Research Group, with the US$200
Million budget donated by the Chinese government. The design of the site resembles two hands in embrace, symbolizing Afrika– China relations, and includes both
traditional Afrikan art and modern Pan-Afrikan symbology, with the height of the 99.9 meter main tower a reference to the adoption of the Sirte Declaration founding
the Afrikan Union on 9 September. However, the majority of materials used in the construction were Chinese, and the art on the walls was produced in China.
Construction took three years with a workforce of 1,200, roughly half of whom were Ethiopian and half of whom were Chinese. The building was inaugurated on 28 January 2012. The AUCC is built on the site of the former Alem Bekagn prison, used during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, and subsequently by Haile Selassie and
Mengistu Haile Mariam to house political prisoners. The decision to construct the AU headquarters on this former prison grounds was criticized by survivors, as they were disappointed by the AU’s lack of acknowledgement of the torture used on the
The office tower of the AUCC
The headquarters comprise a 20-storey office building, housing the administrative departments of the African Union Commission; a 2,505-person capacity plenary chamber; and a sub-conference building with 32 conference rooms. The AUCC is designed to be environmentally-friendly, using passive cooling to control the building’s climate in the heat of Addis Ababa without high energy consumption. The complex also contains the African Union Grand Hotel, funded by the Ethiopian-Saudi billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi and managed by Westin, which is primarily for hosting presidents and diplomats during AU summits.
The lost Afrikan pride
A visit to this grand edifice, like I said earlier was beautiful, but it left me with lots of questions that I could not find straight answers for. But of the many questions that flood my mind, the main one was, why should China or the Chinese government be the one to build a conference center where the leaders of fifty five nations of Africa meet? I could not understand why that was even possible. ‘What in God’s name is happening?’ I asked. The continent of Afrika is the richest continent in the world, irrespective of the lies and the many hoaxes that have been created about how poor, malnourished, backward, uncivilized Afrika and Afrikans are. So to tell me that fifty five nations of Afrika could not pull 200 million dollars together to build the African Union Headquarters, while China which is just one nation could do so, is nothing but nonsense. And come to think of it, what really has happened to the Afrikan pride? Or are the fifty-five leaders of the fifty-five nations of Africa unaware of the fact that he who builds the town hall of the community has control of the proceedings of the elders in that town hall and by extension the community they represent? What happened to the ancient wisdom of God bestowed to Afrika and how did she become so helpless?
I shared my worries with the magazine team. And one question that was on my mind all that time was “what if the Chinese government, in their beautiful benevolence, rigged the entire building with bugs to spy on the meetings and recordings of the AU proceedings”? Little did I know that not only did they suspect that it was possible, but in January 2018, six years after the opening of the AUCC, a report in the Afrikan edition of Le Monde, confirmed by the Financial Times, claimed that the AU’s IT department had discovered in early 2017 that the site’s computer systems were connecting nightly to servers in Shanghai and uploading AU files as well as recordings from microphones embedded in the walls and furniture. The espionage allegation was outrightly denied and the matter buried.
My take on this issue is this, even if the Chinese government has no espionage undertone for donating the building to the African Union, should it not be a thing of worry that Afrika, after almost sixty years of independence from colonial rule, still cannot take responsibility for her own things and must still depend on foreign money to do her projects?
Afrika needs to wise up, in order to rise up.