Tribute to Professor Beseat Kifle Selasiie (Member of the Board of Directors)

The International Joseph Ki-Zerbo Committee for Africa and its Diaspora (CIJKAD) deplores the death of Professor Beseat Kifle Selasiie (1941-2019). He had been designated as dean of the association at its last General Assembly.

He sends to his family, the Ethiopian authorities and the people of Ethiopia his most heartfelt condolences.

Beseat Kifle Selassie was described as a specialist in interdisciplinarity and he saw himself as a “walker”. In what he called the constellation of the great thinkers of Africa and the Diaspora, including Aimé Césaire, Sheikh Anta Diop, Joseph Ki-Zerbo…, he distinguished himself by his ability to cross different fields: art, poetry and literature, when he sheds light on the relationship between Arthur Rimbaud or Pablo Picasso and Africa, the history and culture of Ethiopia, the theory of culture and the study of consensus-based political culture, the cardinal cultural values of solidarity, exchange and sharing embodied in fraternity and sisterhood.

He was also a theorist of endogenous development as shown by his important 1983 study for UNESCO on “The Essential and the Marginal: the Exchange of Knowledge and Cultural Dimensions in the Process of Endogenous Development“. hence the similarities with the thought of Joseph Ki-Zerbo.

He was a valuable collaborator of two Directors-General of UNESCO: René Maheu and Ahmadou Makhtar Mbow.

The student movements in Ethiopia, the place of the Battle of Adwa (1896) in the rise of pan-Africanism, and the role of women in the African Renaissance were also at the heart of this long march of thought that has been in perpetual motion since the 1960s.

Interviewed in 2014 by Professor Bekerie Ayele, Besat Kifle Selassie said: “When I die I want to be 100% Ethiopian, 100% African and 100% citizen of the world“. This is the very current message of this pan-Africanist open to the universal. In this respect, it will constitute a precious viaticum for all those who are concerned about the dignity of Africa and of every human being.

CIJKAD will invite all its supporters to pay tribute to this worthy son of Ethiopia-Africa.

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