I’m a housing service officer working in North London; my great great grandfather once ruled a nation

“My mother’s family are part of what was originally the Aksumite Empire, which became the Ethiopian Empire or, to some, Abyssinia. It’s one of the longest running empires in the history of the world, and our family can easily be traced back to some Biblical figures, including King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

 

“I’ve heard wonderful stories about my great-great-grandfather, although I never got to meet him in person. There’s a great occasion when Haile Selassie visited

Jamaica, where he is considered a godlike deity by the Rastafarian people. Thousands came to the runway on his arrival, which made for quite a famous image.

Alex Asrate-Denyer (L) and Emperor Haile Selassie (R)

“What wasn’t captured by video however, is that when the plane landed, a lot of the Rastafarians were bowing. Haile Selassie saw this through the plane’s window, and refused to get off the plane. He spoke to the ambassador and told him that they needed to stand up. Haile Selassie was a strict Christian, and as such did not want to be seen as a deity. Also, he felt that our family, and our nation, wouldn’t be where they were at the time if it wasn’t for Rastafarians. He told my mother ‘They look after us, and we should look after them’.

“I don’t blame the Derg for the military revolution that overthrew Haile Selassie. My mother lost two sons before me. But if the revolution had never happened, my mother would not have moved to England in exile, she wouldn’t have met my dad and I wouldn’t exist. It is just history, but it made my family who we are.

“Occasionally, I’ve experienced the surreal nature of the different world that my family come from, far removed from my professional world of social housing. My mother went to school with the Duke of Westminster, for example, and to see them play-fighting with each other at the age of 55 outside of a Scottish bed and breakfast was different! Often when I’m with my family at events, everyone wants to start taking pictures of them.

“My grandmother was herself a resident in a sheltered accommodation property run by C&C, passed away last month. When she passed, it was quite amazing to see the impact on a number of Ethiopian and Rastafarian people in London.

“For me, black history is about far more than just looking at the past 500 years or so, which largely associates African history with slavery. That’s what I think is so powerful about Black History Month – if you look past Martin Luther King, or Malcolm X, or marches…there’s a rich history that’s really interesting to see.”

The full discussion with Alex about Haile Selassie and his broader family history can be viewed on C&C’s Youtube channel. For more information about C&C’s work to provide safe, affordable and innovative housing and care solutions for the over 55’s in London, please visit our website.

 

Comments

Hello Alex,

I teach on the MSc Housing Studies programme at the University of Stirling in Scotland. I was browsing the Black History Month website for inspiration on housing/housing professionals to share with students and I’ve found your video. What an incredible connection between your work in social housing and the history of your family, Ethiopia and Rastafarian culture. Thank you so much for sharing your story.


Hi Alex,

Absolutely fabulous scrolling through and finding your story!

Isn’t history just so fulfilling.

Thank you for sharing.


Hello Alex. Thank you for sharing this. I recently began to read my bible again and discovered that our history (black people’s history) is right there in the bible. For many years I thought that I was reading about white people because of the imagery used to portray Christianity! I have since learned a lot about Noah’s son Ham, Cush and the Cushites. Ethiopians are talked about all over the bible. The wife of Moses, Delilah having Samson’s 7 locks cut off. The Shulamite woman that King Solomon fell in love with and the discrimination she faced because of the colour of her skin. Or the apostle Simeon who was also know as Niger. The encounter of Philip with the Ethiopian Eunuch. These are only a tiny number of examples of black people in the bible. The Magi (aka the three wise men) also from the Horn of Africa, the Queen of Sheba also. I have now taught my children these wonderful truths never from the bible. We have a rich history which starts in the bible.


Thank you for sharing your personal and family history with all of us and the world Alex. I am a very Proud Ethiopian American that walks with my head’s up at all times. Alex, just remember that, in yours and every Ethiopian flows the blood of Mighty Queen Sheba of Ethiopia and of King Solomon of Israel. When you dive into the Great Ethiopian History and Mighty Civilization you are entering into prehistory and the Origin of Humanity itself. The Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia.alone goes back over 3000 years and this is much older than all European Monarchs combined.


Hey Alex
Am so glad I found this article cause am in the seeking of my family history and Sheba and Solomon is my bloodline….. In spiritual realm am Sheba and my son is Menelek and I am still in the seeking but hopefully we can connect one day and talk about our history


Hello Alex,
What a beautiful story albeit sad what happened to your legacy at the hands of the italians in Ethiopia,especially in these times when tings are so clear of what was going on then and now!!.
Big up to your family.❤️
Ps; I went to the school your great great grandfather built in Kingston Jamaica (Payne land).
Haille Selassie High School.❤️


I will be replace by the ongoing generation H.I.M


Thanks for sharing this Alex. Your Granfather was a beacon of light, to a people who experienced since slavery hell on earth. He came at the right time when we needed someone to lift our spirits snd feel proud to be black, and later inspired cooperation between African nations and also World governments. His legacy lives on in a particular genre of music, roots reggae, and a 20th century religious movement Rastafari, which is expanding into the world to incorporate all peoples from all walks of life.


Wonderful and amazing story, witness the coming of your great-grandfather to our little island Jamaica, it’s history no one forgets especially our cultured Rastafarian who still Worship His Emperial Majestie Hallie Selassie has their God. Up to this day their beliefs are that He is still alive and well. But as a child it was awesome to see when his plane arrived in Jamaica, there was no space left for standing as the entire place was a sea of people lining up to see this little Man who was the last tribe of Solomon. And so be proud as long as u live, because your great, great-grandfather was one Amazing human being who walked this Earth. And I am so glad that I saw him,not in person but it was televised for.the world to see. ❣️❣️❣️


Grand son of a King ,Is King a promise to the King ,King David from generation to generation. Look Simba, Just realise Simba ,Lion Of Judah. The Sun Is The Seal. Your Sword fast and pray call on the Names . That’s your Power.


Hi,
I believe I am in contact with some members of your family in Maryland USA.
Please drop me an email.
Be blessed!
Archbishop Doye Teido Agama


This was brilliant… I think a TV channel should make a series about this young mans family and I think he should present it.


If the monarchy was still on the throne in Ethiopia you would have the position of a Prince Alex so stand tall we Rastafarians still watch you descendants of King Solomon and Queen Sheba. What a mighty legacy to carry Alex. Mighty and Royal. Giving Thanks for the Livity of RasTafari


This is a false testimony about His Majesty’s arrival in Jamaica for two reasons.

First and most profound is that for centuries and even during the time of His Majesty’s reign the Ethiopian people themselves were documented to have prostrated themselves whenever they were in the presence of The Emperor. Even if His vehicle passed them.on the road they would bow, face to the ground. This was common place.

Secondly, the reason why His Majesty didn’t immediately disembark the plane was because the Ethiopia flag was flown inappropriately and the Jamaican government was informed to correct the affront before His Majesty would appear.


Hello all,

I would like to thank you all for your kind words and comments. I had no idea this had been posted here till today when a friend sent me the link. It is all slightly overwhelming as I did not think it would reach so many.

Janelle – I am sorry I seem to have upset you. This video is not the full recording and I did qualify that I can only say what I was told and I never met Haile Selasie. I would like to say though, that an ethiopian bowing is not out of prostration – it is a sign of recognising and acknowledging the presence of God in everyone. At least that’s what my mother taught me. The delay in his leaving the plane – I can only say this what my mother told me (and I do think it is a nicer story ).

Your Eminence Archbishop Agama – I am not sure how to email you. If you can email me through this please do. This goes for anyone who would like to speak.

God bless you all – you’ve all warmed my heart today


This is amazing! I couldn’t stop reading till l got to the end. I encourage you to write a book on this topic


Haile salassie is not part of the anointed by God just like queen Elizabeth is not an anointed queen neither was Salassie. so saying they are not part of God’s plan for mankind’s future.
David and his son Salamon, who was part of God’s arrangement for the future was not worshipped in the way people rasta worshipped Salassie. he was not a god nor to be worshipped like the almighty.
God is one. not even Jesus.


Fantastic read. My late father in law was a savant, and investigative accountant, and led the team from Price, Waterhouse & Cooper which spent 3 months every year going over the accounts of Ethiopia and also the King and Queens private accounts. This included the balck pearl necklace which the Queen disliked, but had been placed into the treasury, along with gold dust…a stone room with a sand floor. My father in law would remember all the amounts in Roubles, he was allowed no camera or pencil, and was watched…but he just simply remembered them, and the recalled them all once back in the UK. I often wear a jacket made by Hailes’ tailors for my father in law, which was many times touched by the King as he went to say hello to David Baker, my father in law. I feel right proud wearing it..especially when I used to go to The Jamm in Brixton.


Hi Alex

Thank you for sharing a glimpse of life and your heritage. Im hoping one day you can share more with us in Preston.
Kindest regards, Glenda


Blessed!! Keep sharing your pass history because they is so much too learn About our history….thank you for sharing your story❤️I do advise all my people to do your research as you seek you’ll find a very life changing concept about who you are and where your roots come from!!!! Contact yourself with the universe spiritual contacting with our an sisters will change your life forever keep learning about who you are and where your coming from the devil will not tell you about your history because he or she knows how Blessed you are!!!! Please my people do are research. ❤️


Fascinating story. Your great – grandfather had a huge charisma that affected people whereever he went.But it wasn’t just Jamaican people that saw him as being somebody special. In the time between the wars with a world in turmoil the idea of a Messianic hope still had currency generally and a King reputedly from the lineage of Solomon stirred the imagination of many people worldwide. My own grandmother who was 24 when he visited Glasgow in the first year of his exile told me that people who saw him thought that they had seen some sort of saintly figure and were deeply moved and honoured to have him visit their city. Look at the pathe newsreels – you cant fake the warmth of the welcome.


Hi Alex.
Someone sent it to me.
What a fascinating and truly beautiful family history and heritage to pass on to future generations.
Wow to be able to trace your lineage so far back is truly amazing.
Hope it is all documented somewhere.


When I was a student in the late 1950s i spent a summer fruit picking at the Tiptree internatioal camp in essex. i met a tall handsome Ethiopian . he wore an enoRmous heavy gold ring WHICH HE TOLD ME CAME FROM HIS FAMILY’S GOLD MINE . IT WAS CHUNKY AND WENT SEVERAL TOMES AROUND HIS FINGER MUST HAVE WEIGHED SEVERAL OUNCES.. IVE ALWAYS WONDERED WHO HE WAS.


MASSIVE RESPECT AND GRATITUDE TO YOU ALEX BROTHER,,,,,!!!!,,,,,MY FATHER WORKED,,,,FOR KING HAILE SELASSIE,,,,SERVED IN HIS CABINET,,,,AS,,,,ASSISTANT MINISTER OF EDUCATION,,,,,REPRESENTED ETHIOPIA IN UNESCO,,,,FOR MANY MANY YEARS. HE WAS BORN ALSO FROM THE SAME REGION,,,,HARRAR. MY FATHER, ALONG WITH MEMBERS OF KING HAILE SELASSIE’S,,,,AND KING HAILE SELASSIE HIMSELF,,,,,WERE TOGETHER IN PRISON,,,,(PALACE),,,,AS POLITICAL PRISONERS,!,,,,,THEY WERE PLACED IN THREE ROOMS,,,,ATTACHED TO EACH OTHER. ,,,,I WAS A CHILD WHEN THIS HAPPENED BUT STILL HAVE A VIVID MEMORY,,,,!!!!,,,,THANK YOU AGAIN FOR SHARING THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY WITH THE WORLD.

❤❤❤
JAH,,,,!!!


Thank you


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