photographer Christian Mantuano
Today Addis Ababa is a work in progress. An actual urban metamorphosis affects the central districts gradually dismembered in order to make way for new constructions and paved roads. Huge skeletons of future buildings silhouette against the sky and the sound of bulldozers spreads into the dusty streets.
The new city plan is a significant stage of the plan to turn Ethiopia into an industrialized country. The symbol of this transformation is the construction of the light metro, a modern project of fast and sustainable transport. Two rail lines running through the city, for a total of 48Km cross in Meskal Square, the city center of Addis.
The demolition of the old slums, aimed at creating space for new buildings, involves the relocation of tens of thousands of people. Not everyone will have access to the new housing projects built by the government. Thus, thousands found themselves living on the street or forced to move to the suburbs, isolated and poorly connected to the city center. The intense building activity has also increased the employment level but the average salary of a worker is not enough for a roof and a meal a day.
The safety conditions of construction sites remain extremely precarious. While the city is experiencing a radical change that quickly transforms places and people, the citizens of Addis find new ways of living the urban space. They live for the day occupying the spaces with temporary solutions with a good dose of patience. That is the same patience that allows those who still lives in the slum to calmly wait the time of the move.
The first interest of the government is to provide three meals a day and a house to every Ethiopian citizen. The hope is that this program will be achieved shortly but in the meantime a silent minority of the population is still in search of his place in this great plan of modernization of the country.
Addis Ababa. New Year.