Silvio Rizzotti – Ethiopia25 Sep 2016, by Beginnings in
In this recording, Silvio Rizzotti speaks about the two periods in which he has been resident in Ethiopia. He was born in 1940 at the very end of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia – his father was Director of the Ras Destà hospital in Addis Ababa. In the aftermath of the war, he was sent to study at a college in Asmara before returning to Italy to study engineering in Padua. After having retired, he returned to Ethiopia to open a tourist lodge in the Tigray region of the country. The locality in which he set up the lodge was in 1988 subject to a purge perpetrated by the Derg in which over 2,500 people were killed. Considering the Italian community from the vantage point of someone who has left Ethiopia and returned, the Ing. Rizzotti speaks of two communities – one which is made up mostly of small entrepreneurs and which has been present in the country for decades and a community whose residence is more temporary. He sees little connection between the two. Reflecting on what he thinks will be the likely future of Italy and of Ethiopia, he speaks about what he sees as having changed over the period of his lifetime. In particular, he talks about the difficulties that, in the 1940s and 1950s, people of mixed race faced. Returning to Ethiopia and beginning a new career, what he observes is that the colour of one’s skin is no longer important and that is the great lesson the community in Ethiopia has learned.