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Thousands of Ethiopians Showed Up for the Oromo People's Irreecha Thanksgiving Festival

For the first time in 100 years, the festival was held in Addis Ababa.

The Irreecha thanksgiving festival is an annual celebration by Ethiopia's Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in the country. The celebration included a concert which took place this past Friday at the Meskel Square and was followed by a ceremony of blessings on the Saturday, the BBC reports. The festival has traditionally been held in Bishoftu which is just outside of the capital city. However, after the festival was held in Addis Ababa this year for the first time in 100 years, many have seen this as a recognition of Oromo culture by the country's authorities.


Ethiopia has been battling inter-ethnic violence for years, long before the recent prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, took up office. In December of last year, as many as 2.9 million Ethiopians had been displaced as a result of deadly clashes between the country's different ethnic groups. Finding a resolution a resolution for the conflict has become Ahmed's biggest task in his role as prime minister.

Thousands of Oromo people took to the streets in colorful traditional attire, waving the Ethiopian flag and chanting as they marked the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvest season. Although it was feared that the weekend thanksgiving celebrations might exacerbate ethnic tensions in the capital especially, News24 reports that they took place without incident. Back in 2016, several people who were protesting the government were killed in a stampede after the police attempted to disperse them.

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Op-Ed: Opening South Africa's Churches Amid COVID-19 Will Result in More Deaths

Churches get away with a lot in this country and now is as good a time as any to put an end to that.

It was a day like any other at the Global Reconciliation Church in the Free State province. Congregants were gathering for a prayer event which no doubt included praying about what was then an impending 21-day national lockdown due to COVID-19. What no-one had anticipated however, was that five tourists who had already tested positive for the coronavirus, would come into contact with an estimated 1600 other congregants––three of whom have since died as a result.

One gathering, three deaths. This is what South Africans pushing the government to open places of worship, seem to forget. And while the government has remained steadfast in the face of very public backlash following a number of tough decisions during this national lockdown, it seems that churches may just prove to be their kryptonite.

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Jahëna Louisin’s Debut Short Film, ‘28 jours,’ is an Homage to Black Fatherhood

Troubled by portrayal of Black fathers in mainstream media, the Haitian-Reunionese filmmaker set out to make a film about loss and humanity.