As young children around the country write and draw about their holiday experiences, with concentrated stares and sticking-out tongues, I too reach to the what-I-did-on-my-holidays September staple.
Or, rather, I found inspiration from my recent trip to Ethiopia to take a look in some Foreign Office files relating to the country. My time there – alongside regular rainfall and cool temperatures (just like earlier in the summer here, really) – was dominated by the period of mourning following the passing of the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
One piece of information particularly interested me: that Meles attended the British-funded and -inspired General Wingate Secondary School just outside of Addis Ababa (which, incidentally, my father also attended, two years his senior). The school had been in somewhat of a decline but was rescued due to an injection of finances from the British Council in the early 1960s. Consequently, a number of records – mostly relating to the financing of the school – are available here at The National Archives, as a result of discussions between the British Council, the embassy, and the school itself. A quick search in Discovery provided an intriguingly titled record: ‘Wingate School, Addis Ababa: student disturbances following Rhodesian Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ (FO 1043/53).