1965, Nov. 17: H.I.M. Haile Selassie I Spirit of Africa Speech
Spirit of Africa
We have just returned from the Accra meeting of the Heads of African States and governments, where fresh evidence was adduced that the spirit of Africa grows steadily more powerful and all -, pervasive, and that Africans shall continue to march together, in unity and oneness, into the promise of the future.
At Accra, resolutions were adopted which are of signal importance to every African country.
We would refer, in particular, to the resolution which pledges each nation on this continent to oppose subversive activities, to refrain from the conduct of any hostile propaganda campaign directed against another African state, and to resort to negotiations for the settlement of disputes between member states.
These undertakings, if they are implemented in good faith, should go far to remove many of the causes of friction which have from time to time impaired intra-African relations in the past, and further strengthen the African Unity Charter.
Each must contribute
Let there be no mistake : in modern Ethiopia, each man must contribute.
There is no protection from the demand that a man’s worth be assessed by his achievements. Education and learning offer no escape from the obligation of toil, for the good of the nation with little thought of self, to them will much be given, even to the governing of the land.
Nor should anyone today mistakenly believe that only in the cities can he serve his country.
The greater need today is among the people, with those who work the soil, who provide the nourishment and sustenance upon which Ethiopia feeds.
The University National Service Programme has pointed the way. Today’s younger generation must maintain their ties with the people who are the bulk and the backbone of the nation.
The problem of the many must become the problem of the few, for only in this way can the progress we earn be lasting and real and of benefit to all.
This very institution of Parliament is itself a striking example of the reshaping and moulding of custom and tradition which has at every step marked Ethiopia’s development over the years. To serve in these Chambers, a man must possess high ability and demonstrated talents.
Indeed, you Deputies must, in addition, have persuaded your constituents that you dispose of these qualities in abundance, for you owe your claim to sit in this deliberative assembly to their votes, cast in free and open elections.
In the months ahead, much will be asked of you. You will be called upon to consider diverse and complex legislation, proposals prepared by experts after long and painstaking efforts, enactments vital to the life and growth of the nation. Study them carefully and dispassionately ; seek further information when it is necessary ; act not from personal interest or emotional involvement but objectively, as representatives of a united nation and people, with the public welfare your constant concern.