Africa Day

Last updated

Africa Day
Observed byMember states of the African Union
TypeInternational; cultural and historical
SignificanceAnniversary of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity
Date 25 May
Next time25 May 2020 (2020-05-25)
Frequencyannual
Related toAfrican Freedom Day and African Liberation Day

Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now known as the African Union) on 25 May 1963. [1] [2] It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world.

Organisation of African Unity Organization

The Organisation of African Unity was established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with 32 signatory governments. One of the main heads for OAU's establishment was Kwame Nkrumah. It was disbanded on 9 July 2002 by its last chairperson, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and replaced by the African Union (AU). Some of the key aims of the OAU were to encourage political and economic integration among member states, and to eradicate colonialism and neo-colonialism from the African continent. Although it achieved some success, there were also differences of opinion as to how that was going to be achieved.

African Union Supranational union

The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa, with exception of various territories of European possessions located in Africa. The AU was announced in the Sirte Declaration in Sirte, Libya on 9 September 1999, calling for the establishment of the African Union. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa. The intention of the AU is to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa.

Contents

Background

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, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon and of the host country Ghana. The Union of South Africa was not invited. The conference showcased progress of liberation movements on the African continent in addition to symbolising the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. Although the Pan-African Congress had been working towards similar goals since its foundation in 1900, this was the first time such a meeting had taken place on African soil. [3]

Accra Capital city in Ghana

Accra is the capital and largest city of Ghana, covering an area of 225.67 km2 (87.13 sq mi) with an estimated urban population of 2.27 million as of 2012. It is organized into 10 local government districts – 9 municipal districts and the Accra Metropolitan District, which is the only district within the capital to be granted city status. "Accra" usually refers to the Accra Metro Area,, which serves as the capital of Ghana, while the district which is within the jurisdiction of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly is distinguished from the rest of the capital as the "City of Accra". In common usage, however, the terms "Accra" and "City of Accra" are used interchangeably.

Ghana Republic in West Africa

Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.

Prime Minister of Ghana head of government in Ghana; 1957–1960 and 1969–1972

The Prime Minister of Ghana was the head of government of Ghana from 1957 to 1960 and again from 1969 to 1972.

The Conference called for the founding of an African Freedom Day, a day to "...mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolise the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation." [4]

The conference was notable in that it laid the basis for the subsequent meetings of African heads of state and government during the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Group era, until the formation of the OAU in 1963. [5]

The Casablanca Group, sometimes known as the 'Casablanca bloc', was a short-lived, informal association of African states with a shared vision of the future of Africa and of Pan-Africanism in the early 1960s. The group was composed of seven states led by radical, left-wing leaders largely from North Africa—Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Mali, and Morocco. The conflict and eventual compromise between the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Group lead to the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity.

The Monrovia Group, sometimes known as the Monrovia bloc, officially the Conference of Independent African States, was a short-lived, informal association of African states with a shared vision of the future of Africa and of Pan-Africanism in the early 1960s. Its members believed that Africa's independent states should co-operate and exist in harmony, but without political federation and deep integration as supported by its main rival, the so-called Casablanca Group. In 1963, the two groups united to establish a formal, continent-wide organisation, the Organisation for African Unity.

History

Five years later, on 25 May 1963, representatives of thirty African nations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie. By then more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence, mostly from imperial European states. At this meeting, the Organisation of African Unity was founded, with the initial aim to encourage the decolonisation of Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. The organisation pledged to support the work conducted by freedom fighters, and remove military access to colonial nations. A charter was set out which sought to improve the living standards across member states. Selassie exclaimed, "May this convention of union last 1,000 years." [6]

Addis Ababa Capital in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia. According to the 2007 census, the city has a population of 2,739,551 inhabitants.

Emperor of Ethiopia Hereditary rulers of the Ethiopian Empire

The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of the Ethiopian Empire, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive, judicial and legislative power in that country. A National Geographic article called imperial Ethiopia "nominally a constitutional monarchy; in fact [it was] a benevolent autocracy".

Haile Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia

Haile Selassie I was an Ethiopian regent from 1916 to 1930 and emperor from 1930 to 1974. He is a defining figure in contemporary Ethiopian history.

The charter was signed by all attendees on 26 May, with the exception of Morocco. [lower-alpha 1] At that meeting, Africa Freedom Day was renamed Africa Liberation Day. [4] In 2002, the OAU was replaced by the African Union. However, the renamed celebration of Africa Day continued to be celebrated on 25 May in respect to the formation of the OAU. [7]

Contemporary celebrations

Africa Day continues to be celebrated both in Africa and around the world, mostly on 25 May (although in some cases these periods of celebrations can be stretched out over a period of days or weeks). [8] Themes are set for each year's Africa Day, with 2015's being the "Year of Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063". At an event in New York City in 2015, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, delivered a message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which he said, "Let us... intensify our efforts to provide Africa's women with better access to education, work and healthcare and, by doing so, accelerate Africa's transformation". [9]


Further readings

Footnotes

Notes

  1. Morocco's delegation was present in an observatory capacity only, due to the attendance of Mauritania and the ongoing border dispute with that nation. [6]

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References

  1. "Africa Day 2019 | South African Government". www.gov.za. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  2. Tutu, Bongiwe (25 May 2017). "10 Things to Know About Africa Day". Africa.com. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  3. "The History of Africa Liberation Day"; TheTalkingDrum.com; accessed May 2017
  4. 1 2 "African Liberation Day: A Celebration of Resistance". Pambazuka News. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  5. jonas (24 May 2012). "The History of Africa Day – 25 May". South African History Online. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  6. 1 2 "1963: African States Unite Against White Rule". BBC On This Day. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  7. Allison, Simon (26 May 2015). "Africa Day: Is the African Union worth celebrating?". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  8. "Kakadu for Africa Day celebrations". The Nation. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  9. "Africa Day 2015 Celebrated in New York". United Peace Federation. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016.