The African Union (AU) has unveiled a statue of Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie I at its headquarters in Ethiopia's capital city. Selassie was King of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. The statue was to recognize his role in the creation of the Organization of African Union (OAU) in 1963. His vision was to free all African countries from colonialism and create independent countries in Africa. He said: "May this union last 1,000 years." The OAU lasted for 39 years before it changed into the AU in 2002. The AU continues Selassie's vision of achieving greater unity between African nations.
Emperor Haile Selassie I was born in 1892. His family traced its roots back 3,000 years to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. He was an influential figure in modern Ethiopian history. He was a skilled politician on the international stage and helped lead Ethiopia to become a charter member of the U.N. Ethiopia was never colonized. Haile Selassie is a big part of the Rastafarian religion. Around one million Rastafarians consider him as a messiah who came to Earth to spread the word of God. The 1973 famine in Ethiopia led to his eventual removal from power.