Professor Richard Pankhurst, expert on Ethiopia – obituary –

Professor Richard Pankhurst, who has died aged 89, was the son of the suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst and acquired her passion for Ethiopia, publishing numerous books about its history and culture and establishing, in 1962, an Institute for Ethiopian Studies (IES) in the grounds of Haile Selassie I University (now Addis Ababa University). 

Pankhurst also played a leading role in a long-running campaign to have artefacts looted from Ethiopia by the European colonial powers returned to their country of origin, a campaign which achieved its most spectacular success in 2005 when Italy returned the Aksum obelisk, a 1,700-year-old, 180 ton carved granite stele that had been hauled away by the Italians in 1937 during Mussolini’s occupation of the country and subsequently re-erected in a busy Rome piazza.

Richard Keir Pethick Pankhurst was born on December 3 1927 in Woodford Green, north London, the…

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