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In 1958, Richard Pankhurst asked Rita Eldon to leave her home in London and move to Ethiopia with him and his mother, suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst. Without the promise of marriage and with relatively little knowledge of the country, Rita said yes, and so began the love affair between the two and their adopted home, Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Reminiscences: Early Days, by Rita and Richard Pankhurst, is a joint autobiography in which Rita and Richard reveal never before published stories about growing up with unusual and intriguing parents, their meeting at age 31, and the ease with which they adapted to their new country.
Reminiscences provides a unique view of the history of colonialism, travel within Ethiopia, celebrations that range from the grand affairs of royalty to the down-home barbeque of a roasted pig, seemingly ceaseless work, and, most important to Rita and Richard, innumerable deep and life-long friendships.
About the Authors:
Richard Pankhurst is the founder of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University. He is currently Chair of the Society of Friends of the Institute, as well as a founding member of the AFROMET. He is the author of many articles, books and monographs.
Rita Pankhurst studied modern languages and obtained her MA at Oxford University in 1948. Most of Rita’s working life has been spent in academic librarianship at Haile Selassie I University, The National Library of Ethiopia, and the Press Library of Chatham House. Rita now undertakes library consultancies and edits academic books and university theses.
The lives of no expatriate family have been so fatefully intertwined with the vicissitudes of Ethiopian life over the past eight decades. Sylvia, Richard, and Rita [Pankhurst] are names familiar to nearly every educated Ethiopian—for their loyal championing of Ethiopia's nationhood, their creative institution building, and their personal generosity. The hearts of all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia will be stirred by this exceptionally readable and engaging memoir, from the tremulous 1930s to 1974—with the promise of a second volume in tow.
---Donald Levine, Ph.D., author of Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture (Chicago University Press, 1974 and Tsehai Publishers, 2006)
Ethiopian Reminiscences, the first installment of Rita and Richard Pankhurst’s memoir, moves with ease from a survey of the wind of change sweeping through Africa in the decade of the fifties and sixties to eye-catching incidents encountered in the course of the authors’ visits to different parts of Ethiopia. A wide range of anecdotes are also offered with the authors’ customary humour and sensitivity. The memoir is an excellent account of modernization efforts in pre-revolutionary Ethiopia.
---Tekalign Gedamu, author of Republicans on the Throne, A Personal Account of Ethiopia's Modernization and Painful Quest for Democracy (Tsehai Publishers, 2011)
What a delight to have the dual autobiographies of Richard and Rita Pankhurst, the stalwarts of Ethiopian Studies, tracing the intellectual history of Ethiopia from the mid-twentieth century through their adventures, travels, and meetings with friends and visitors in the land of Prester John (a virtual Who’s Who of great Ethiopians and Friends of Ethiopia). Their narratives are engrossing, and I eagerly await the second volume of reminiscences.
---Theodore M. Vestal,Ph.D., author of The Lion of Judah in the New World: Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and the Shaping of Americans’ Attitudes toward Africa (Praeger/ABC CLIO, 2011)
Ethiopian Reminiscencesis not only a fascinating joint memoir in its own right, but important source material on Ethiopia in the 1950s, and the early generation of western-educated Ethiopians. The photographs alone are a delight.---Christopher Clapham, Ph.D., author of Haile Selassie’s Government (1930 - 1974) (Tsehai Publishers, 2012)
Professor Richard Pankhurst is Sylvia Pankhurst's only child and was an adult throughout much of the period covered by this book. Using largely unpublished materials, he traces his mother's opposition to Italian Fascism and advocacy of Ethiopian independence.The author, who bore witness to his mother's political activities on behalf of Ethiopia, and other victims of Fascism, is a historian of the country where he resides with his wife Rita. He has written extensively on many aspects of Ethiopian history, and is the author of a biography of his mother's earlier life, Sylvia Pankhurst: Artist.
Professor Richard Pankhurst is Sylvia Pankhurst's only child and was an adult throughout much of the period covered by this book. Using largely unpublished materials, he traces his mother's opposition to Italian Fascism and advocacy of Ethiopian independence.
The author, who bore witness to his mother's political activities on behalf of Ethiopia, and other victims of Fascism, is a historian of the country where he resides with his wife Rita. He has written extensively on many aspects of Ethiopian history, and is the author of a biography of his mother's earlier life, Sylvia Pankhurst: Artist.
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