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25 Italian men who remained in Ethiopia after World War II tended to develop long?term or steady relationships of concubinage with Ethiopian female partners (as the old coloniali had done for decades in Eritrea). The interviews I conducted revealed that in some cases they only had one steady partner; in many others they had several so?called wives in one lifetime. Ethiopian women were often much younger than their Italian partners, sometimes even teenagers. Some �traditional marriages� took place between Italians and Ethiopians, involving the participation of some elders or the exchange of small gifts; however, a proper wedding ceremony, a sarg of some kind, was rarely performed.
57 Interview with Giulia, in September 2011, outskirts of Addis Ababa.
26 Giulia, an unrecognized Eritrean?Italian woman born in Ethiopia at the end of the 1940s, was particularly explicit during our interview. Around 1965, while still a teenager, she was forcefully wed to a middle?aged Italian man she considered too old for her (he died in Ethiopia in the late 1980s). She had a �traditional marriage,� not in a church, but she put on a white wedding gown and they had a ceremony ( sarg ). Her family wanted her to get married to an Italian man, despite the fact that her Italian father had abandoned her family when her mother was pregnant with her. After the marriage, Giulia had to stop her favorite activities: school and sports; but, although she was not allowed to, she would still go and play volleyball once in a while. None of the four children Giulia had with her Italian �husband� were able to obtain Italian citizenship because they were never formally recognized by their father at the Italian Consulate. In the end though, Giulia thinks that her �marriage� was stable enough and not a bad one. She now has a decent house, while many other women in her situation were left in poverty by their Italian �ex?husbands� after they left or passed away.57.
58 Conversations with Richard Pankhurst in 2009 in Addis Ababa.
27 In most cases though, an Ethiopian girl would just move in with her Italian partner, and Ethiopians, afterwards, would refer to her as the �wife� of an Italian man. In Ethiopia, �marriage� and �getting married� can be quite �open� and nuanced concepts, as Richard Pankhurst reminded me , 58 as is also attested by the vagueness of the expression �traditional marriage� and the way it is used today by Ethiopians. Hence, marriage and concubinage in the Horn of Africa are controversial and fluid notions that imply a status partly affected by colonial legacy. Such a baggage made relationships between Northeast African women and Italian men difficult to define throughout the 20 th century. As outlined before, different sources, implicitly or explicitly, reveal the complexity (sometimes the contradictions) of these relationships.
59 Interview with ?a?ay, in August 2011 in Harar. 60 Teff ( Eragostis abyssinica ) is an annual cereal grass, widely used and eaten in Ethiopia. 61 Interview with ?aytu in Addis Ababa in September 2012.
28 For instance, ?a?ay , an Ethiopian woman I interviewed in her relatively comfortable apartment, would refer to her Italian �husband,� alternatively, as padrone and Signor Antonacci (�master� and �Mr. Antonacci�), but she would also assert that �he used to take [her] once in a while to church or to the movies,� which were the �stereotypical� places where Italian men would go accompanied by their wives or fiancees . Moreover, one of their two boys (Gioacchino and Giacobbe) � the eldest ? was legally recognized by his Italian father . 59 Another woman I visited in her shabby house in Addis Ababa , ?aytu, remembered that �when Gallo lived with us or came to visit us, there would always be teff60 at home.� She would hence stress and praise the positive aspects of her �marriage� with Gallo in terms of food, income, and well?being he was able to provide. However, the fact that this man took another �wife� in Debre Zeyit (44 kilometers away from Addis Ababa) when he went to work there for some time, or the fact that he provided valid Italian documents for only his last four children, born in Debre Zeyit from another woman, seemed to be quite irrelevant to ?aytu.61.
Being Ethiopian?Italian in Ethiopia.
62 Barrera , 1996. 63 Riforma del diritto di famiglia (the 1975 set of laws that, among other things, allowed married Ita (. ) 64 Interview with Giulia, op. cit . 65 Barrera , 2002, p. 21?53.
29 If it is true that the majority of Italian men who remained in Ethiopia after World War II did not legally register at the Italian Embassy/Consulate their Ethiopian?Italian children as theirs, it is also likely that Italian men in Ethiopia tended not to acknowledge their Ethiopian?Italian children for two main sets of reasons. On one hand, we can imagine that they reproduced in postcolonial Ethiopia the colonial habit of not legally recognizing African?Italian children in the Horn, a common habit for decades in colonial Eritrea.62 On the other hand, if an Italian man was already married in Italy before joining the Ethiopian Campaign, he was not allowed to acknowledge his children in Ethiopia, because until 1975 the Italian civil code forbade married Italians to acknowledge the children they had out of wedlock, while being married.63 As revealed, among others, by Giulia, the interviewee previously mentioned, this non?recognition also happened when the Italian father kept living with or supporting his Ethiopian family . 64 At the same time, Ethiopian?Italians are still prone to have an Italian first name and father?name, even when they have not been recognized by their Italian ancestor and, therefore, are not Italian citizens. The Italian names of Ethiopian?Italians were not always imposed by the Italian parent though. Indeed, in the name of patrilinearity � as already pointed out by Giulia Barrera for the Eritrean case65 � an Italian name might be imposed by the Ethiopian mother even when the Italian father had prematurely abandoned his Ethiopian family, if only to preserve the patrilineal system.
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