Lady Rasta


Empress Menen Asfaw was born 3 April 1891 Gregorian Calendar (25 March 1883 Ethiopian Calendar).

As Woizero Menen Asfaw also Manan Dagmawit, in the Egua village of the Ambassel region of the Wollo province. She was baptised Walatta Giyorgis in the St Delba Giorgis Church. Her name Menen was given for the most beautiful respected ladies.

Woizero Menen probably met Dejazmach Tafari Makonnen (later Emperor Haile Selassie) at the home of her uncle, Lij Iyasu. This joyful occasion may have inspired Lij Iyasu to attempt to bind Dejazmach Tafari to him more firmly through marriage ties. He therefore arranged the separation of Woizero Menen from Ras Leul Seged, and sent her to Harar to marry Dejazmach Tafari Makonnen. They were married in July 1911. Ras Leul Seged apparently did not hold a grudge against Dejazmach Tafari for this circumstance, blaming it entirely on Lij Iyasu who had ordered it. He was among the leaders who fought on the side of Dejazmach Tafari Makonnen in the Battle of Segale, and died in that battle.

The account given in the Autobiography of the Emperor, My Life and Ethiopia's Progress, mentions no previous marriage or children of Empress Menen and no such order by Iyasu, but states only that at the age of 20, they were married by their own mutual consent. The future Emperor was very impressed by her character and friendly disposition. H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie then Governor of Harar in His twentieth year said of H.I.M. Itegue Menen "...Her character is such that, apart from goodness, there is no evil or malice in her. Ever since, we were married, we lived together, by virtue of her being fertile, in one family joy, as well as sadness..."

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