SYLVIA PANKHURST AND ETHIOPIA
by Rita Pankhurst
In 1934, Sylvia realised that the presence of troops in the Italian colonies bordering Ethiopia suggested that Mussolini planned to invade Ethiopia, which was Africa’s last independent state. She canvassed the national and international press about it. When in October 1935 the invasion happened, she denounced the use of poison gas, and demanded that Britain and other countries should take stringent measures against Italy. In the spring of 1941, Ethiopia was finally liberated from Italian rule.
Emperor Haile Selassie's youngest daughter, Princess Tsehai, had qualified as a nurse in Britain then served in the London Blitz. On her return to Ethiopia, it was her ambition to establish the first teaching hospital in her country. When the Princess died in pregnancy, Sylvia devoted her attentions to ensuring the hospital was founded.