Gumii Paarlaamaa Oromoo (GPO)
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The man who taught Mandela to be a soldier
General Tadesse Birru gave a pistol to Nelson Mandela as he returned
In July 1962,
Mr Mandela was in
The group had announced its arrival at the end of 1961 by blowing-up
electricity pylons in various places in
Sometimes we had to restrain him a bit for safety reasons”
Then on 11 January 1962, Mr Mandela had secretly, and illegally,
slipped out of
His mission was to meet as many African political leaders as possible and garner assistance for the ANC, including money and training for its military wing.
And to be moulded into a soldier himself.
During this trip, he visited
Nelson Mandela's first international speech, 1962
'Made others laugh'
"Nelson Mandela was a very strong and resilient student, and he took instruction well and was really very likeable," Col Fekadu said.
"You couldn't help but love him."
Col Fekadu said Mr Mandela was a good student
Col Fekadu was a corporal when he trained Mr Mandela. He was a member of a specialist police force - the riot battalion - based in the suburbs of Kolfe, in barracks which are still used today.
He remembers a "happy, cheerful person" who "concentrated on the task in hand".
"He was polite, always happy and you never saw him lose his temper," he said.
"He laughed easily and made others laugh as well."
Col Fekadu says he was responsible for training Mr Mandela in sabotage and demolitions and how to stage hit-and-run attacks.
The day's theory lessons were put into practice during night-time exercises.
Mr Mandela was a good student, hardworking and physically strong - but sometimes too robust and too enthusiastic for his own good, the colonel recalls.
"Physically he was very strong and well-built. But sometimes during the training he would get ahead of himself.
Nelson Mandela also visited Tanzania in 1962, staying with the late minister Nsilo Swai, whose wife, Vicky Nsilo Swai, told the BBC about his left luggage:
"On the day Mandela was leaving, he had to leave behind a suitcase because he had too much luggage. In the suitcase was a pair of brown, leather boots. My husband and I ended up keeping them for 33 years.
After my husband retired from politics, we moved from
Then, my husband got a job with the United Nations so the boots
I kept them in our bedroom in a cupboard. I never polished them, I never cleaned them but I put newspaper in them to keep them firm.
The boots are very strong and the leather is excellent - and when I took them back to Mr Mandela in 1995 they were really like new.
The boots still fitted Mr Mandela and he joked that 'these boots have travelled more than myself'.
A lot of people are surprised why I kept the boots for so long. But I really wanted a man who I saw so dedicated to his country to have a memory of these boots."
"And while his intentions were good, that could also be dangerous, and sometimes we had to restrain him a bit for safety reasons."
Col Fekadu had been told to train Mr Mandela by his commanding officer, General Tadesse Birru, the assistant police commissioner who had played a key role in crushing an attempt at the end of 1960 to overthrow Emperor Haile Selassie. He was later executed by the Derg regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Back in 1962, Col Fekadu did not realise the significance of the South African politician he had been instructed to turn into a soldier.
"All we knew was that he was our guest from abroad and that he would spend some time with us," he said.
"Everything was kept very secret. We were kept in the dark."
Mr Mandela was in
At the time,
Its troops were part of the UN peacekeeping operation during the
And the emperor had invited many other African liberation struggle fighters to be trained on Ethiopian soil.
As well as learning how to commit acts of sabotage, Mr Mandela's military training also included briefings on military science, how to run an army and how to use a gun.
He was also taken on long treks carrying his knapsack, rifle and ammunition.
This was one of Mr Mandela's favourite activities during his
military training, and he writes about it with affection in his Long
Walk to Freedom autobiography: "During these marches I got a sense
of the landscape, which was very beautiful... people used wooden
ploughs and lived on a very simple diet supplemented by home-brewed
beer. Their existence was similar to the life in rural
He would do squats and jumping jacks. He followed that exercise routine religiously every morning”
Tesfaye AbebeStationed at Kolfe police barracks in 1962
Mr Mandela's presence in
He was much taller and broader than most of the police cadets.
And, as well as going on fatigue marches through the countryside, he would exercise out in the open in the grounds of the barracks.
One person who took a particular interest in the tall stranger in his midst was Tesfaye Abebe, who was working in Kolfe as the head of the battalion's music and drama department.
He recalls Mr Mandela running around a big field in the compound - which today doubles up as a running track and a parade ground.
"He would do squats and jumping jacks. He followed that exercise routine religiously every morning."
A curious Mr Tesfaye snatched conversations with Mr Mandela when he and his trainer came into the canteen for lunch.
"Security was quite tight and we weren't really allowed to approach him."
But, he says, Mr Mandela was "very friendly and talkative" and explained apartheid to him and how the ANC intended to fight it with guerrilla warfare and political activism.
On a couple of occasions, the police band - in which Mr Tesfaye was the pianist - played for Mr Mandela in the officer's club.
"He really enjoyed that. He was really happy when we played for him."
Nelson Mandela's guerrilla war training
Mr Mandela's military training in
He had already spent seven months out of the country - and he was needed back home.
As Mr Mandela left Ethiopia, Gen Tadesse presented him with a pistol and 200 rounds of ammunition - a gun that is thought to be buried somewhere on Lillesleaf Farm, where in 1963 other ANC leaders were arrested and sentenced to life alongside Mr Mandela in the famous Rivionia trial.
Mr Mandela himself had been arrested on 5 August 1962 - for leaving
the country illegally, shortly after his return from his trip around
Africa - and still in the military fatigues in which he had been
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