Ever wondered what Africa Day means, Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU popularly known as the African Union on 25 May 1963. It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world. Celebrations on May 25th, crowned as Africa Day, recite the annual commemorations of Africa’s independence, freedom and liberation strife from colonial imperialists.
According to Wikipedia, the First Congress of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana on 15 April 1958. It was convened by Prime Minister of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and comprised representatives from Egypt- then a constituent part of the United Arab Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon.
Today, the continental organisation celebrates 54 years of determined efforts for unity among the African people, and socioeconomic freedom from foreign dominion and exploitation.
These are the things you need to know about Africa Day.
Inspired by Ghana’s Independence
The end of World War II saw exceeding efforts from Africans over the process of decolonisation of the African continent for more political rights and independence from colonial rule; thus, between 1945 and 1965, a significant number of African countries gained independence from European colonial powers, with Ghana becoming the first African country in the South of the Sahara gaining its independence on March 6, 1957, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah.
Common African Unity and Identity
The first Conference of Independent African States convened on April 15, 1958, in Ghana and further encouraged and stamped a common African identity of unity and fighting against colonialism.
Women Empowerment in the African Union
Upon welcoming the sitting of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the first woman chair of the UA Commission, many argued that the continent was not ready for a woman to take that position. However, Dlamini-Zuma has managed leaps in her tenure and has cracked the assumption that women are incapable of being involved in the continental organisation.
Africa Day as a Public Holiday
Africa Day continues to be celebrated both in Africa and around the world, mostly on May 25th since the sitting of the first conference in 1963. Some parts of the continent and throughout the world enjoy longer periods of celebrations stretched over a number of days or weeks, depending on the programme at hand.
Africa Day Celebrations
The theme for Africa Day commemorations last year was, “Building a Better Africa and a Better World,” where member states across the continent emphasised the founding objectives to the formation of the African Union and remembering the efforts of the member states in their lived fight for freedom and unity. This year, the AU is running with the theme: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path To Africa’s Transformation.”
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