Why Is Africa Day An Important Part Of Our Culture?
Apart from the festivities that the day promises, surrounded by a pandemic exterior and a half-scared generation of Africans, Africa Day has its roots steeped in culture and Freedom.
Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963. It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world. The organisation was transformed into the African Union on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, but the holiday continues to be celebrated on 25 May.
A little history.
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.
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.”
So in answer to a cultural clarion call, we have observed the day ever since, though layered in many titles and over several days by some, it’s celebratory date still remains 25th of May.