Taking place on 25th May every year. Celebrating African unity. Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union) on this day, 25 May, in 1963. Formally known as African freedom day and then African Liberation day, its origin lies in the collective African resistance to colonialism and economic exploitation. The day was, and is, intended to highlight Africa’s continued collective struggle against adversity.
Africa Day 2023 | Africa Day Message: The African Union today strives to represent a vibrant continent of 1.2 Billion people. Today is a day to celebrate how far Africa has come against the odds and to recognise how much more needs to be done to ensure that all Africans can live healthy, happy lives.
Africa Day 2023 | Africa Day Message
How to approach it
This is a great opportunity to do two things. First, especially for younger children, introduce Africa as a dynamic, diverse continent. Often the dominant perception of Africa has been one of poverty and backwardness. Reverse these stereotypes by finding photos and videos that showcase modern Africa. Show that Africa has a rich history of civilisations, phenomenal natural resources and innovators. You could choose to show some examples of inventors, activists or artists that come from Africa.
Secondly, show students why African unity is important for Africans. Here is where you can begin to introduce the history of Africa, in particular, the history of slavery, colonialism and modern economic imperialism. Show that Africa was a diverse patchwork of peoples and communities that was (and is) subjected to external aggression from pillaging and occupation to the dominance of western corporations. African unity is a response to this external pressure, a collective desire to be free from it and to work towards a more equal international system together.
What is Africa Day and why is it celebrated?
Africa Day, also known as African Liberation Day, is celebrated on May 25th every year. It commemorates the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. The OAU was the precursor to the African Union (AU), which was founded in 2002.
Africa Day 2023 | Africa Day Message: Africa Day holds significant cultural, historical, and political importance for the continent. Here are some key aspects and reasons why it is celebrated:
- Pan-Africanism: Africa Day is rooted in the ideology of Pan-Africanism, which advocates for the unity, solidarity, and development of Africa and its people. It emerged during the early 20th century as a response to colonialism and sought to reclaim African identity, culture, and sovereignty. Celebrating Africa Day reinforces the principles of Pan-Africanism and promotes a sense of common African identity and heritage.
- African Unity: The establishment of the OAU, and later the AU, aimed to promote unity among African nations. Africa Day celebrates the collective efforts of African countries to work together, foster cooperation, and address common challenges. It serves as a reminder of the importance of African solidarity in pursuing peace, stability, and development across the continent.
- Liberation and Independence: Africa Day celebrates the liberation struggles and the attainment of independence by many African nations. During the mid-20th century, numerous African countries gained independence from colonial rule. Africa Day serves as a platform to honor the sacrifices and achievements of those who fought for freedom, self-determination, and the end of colonial domination.
- Reflection on Progress: Africa Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made by African nations since independence. It acknowledges the political, social, and economic advancements achieved by African countries and recognizes the resilience and determination of the African people in overcoming challenges.
- Cultural Diversity: Africa is a continent rich in cultural diversity, with a vast array of languages, traditions, arts, and cuisines. Africa Day celebrates this diversity and showcases the cultural heritage of the continent. Through cultural events, performances, exhibitions, and discussions, Africa Day promotes intercultural dialogue, understanding, and appreciation.
- African Renaissance: Africa Day is also associated with the concept of the African Renaissance, which envisions a revitalization and renewal of Africa. It focuses on fostering African-led development, promoting good governance, advancing human rights, and addressing socio-economic disparities. Africa Day highlights the aspirations and potential of Africa for a brighter future.
- Solidarity with Global Movements: Africa Day aligns with global movements and campaigns for social justice, human rights, and sustainable development. It provides an opportunity to unite with other nations and continents in addressing global challenges, such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and peacebuilding.
In summary, Africa Day is a celebration of African unity, liberation, cultural diversity, and progress. It serves as a reminder of Africa’s history, resilience, and ongoing efforts towards development and self-determination. By commemorating Africa Day, individuals and nations reaffirm their commitment to a united and prosperous Africa, working towards a brighter future for the continent and its people.
What Day is National Africa Day?
National Africa Day, also known as African Unity Day, is celebrated in various African countries on different dates. It is important to note that Africa Day, which is the commemoration of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and now the African Union (AU), is celebrated on May 25th across the continent and internationally. However, some African countries have designated their own specific dates to celebrate their national Africa Day, focusing on their individual history and independence struggles. For example:
- South Africa: In South Africa, National Africa Day is celebrated on April 27th. This date marks the anniversary of the first non-racial democratic elections held in 1994, which marked the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era in South Africa.
- Ghana: Ghana celebrates National Africa Day on May 25th, aligning with the international Africa Day. It commemorates Ghana’s significant role as the first African country to gain independence from colonial rule on March 6, 1957.
- Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe celebrates Africa Day on May 25th, along with the international observance. The country uses this day to honor the contributions of freedom fighters who fought for independence from colonial rule and to celebrate their sovereignty.
These are just a few examples of how different African countries celebrate their own National Africa Day. It’s important to research the specific dates and historical significance in each country to fully understand their individual observances and celebrations.
Why is it called Africa Day?
Africa Day is called so because it commemorates the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. The OAU was a predecessor to the African Union (AU), which was formed in 2002. The day is named “Africa Day” to honor the unity and aspirations of the African continent.
The OAU was founded by representatives from 32 African countries who sought to promote solidarity, cooperation, and the liberation of African nations from colonial rule. By establishing the OAU, African leaders aimed to unite their efforts in addressing common challenges, achieving independence for African countries, and promoting African unity.
May 25th was chosen as the date for Africa Day to commemorate the historic meeting of African leaders that took place on that day in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During this meeting, the Charter of the Organization of African Unity was adopted, marking a significant step towards African unity and decolonization.
The name “Africa Day” reflects the celebration of the African continent as a whole. It serves as a reminder of the shared history, struggles, and aspirations of African nations. It symbolizes the continent’s commitment to unity, development, and the promotion of African values, culture, and identity.
Since its establishment, Africa Day has evolved into a platform to celebrate African achievements, reflect on progress, and address current challenges faced by the continent. It highlights the collective efforts and resilience of African people in working towards a better future for Africa.
It’s important to note that different African countries may also have their own national days or independence days, which are celebrated separately to commemorate their specific historical events and struggles for independence.
Africa Day Message
Africa Month brings us together with fellow brothers and sisters from across the continent to forge greater unity.
· It helps us better understand each other as Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora.
· Africa Month is an opportunity for us to join hands with one another towards developing our continent.
· It is time to unite as one Africa and build a better continent and a better, safer and a prosperous world for all.
In South Africa, a number of events will also be held to commemorate Africa Month. These include:
o The SADC Ministerial Round Table Discussion on the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route.
o The Africa Unity Conference and Africa Day Expo.
o A Symposium on Trade and Investment in Africa, focusing on strengthening intra-Africa trade.
o The Department of Basic Education will also host a SADC initiative where schools across SADC will debate on the topic “Harnessing Energy for Sustainable Development”.
o There will also be a public lecture on Youth Empowerment by the Department of Public Service and Administration.
· We invite all those living in South Africa to join in the celebrations.
This is our continent; let us celebrate the unique flavour of Africa.
Regional integration will help the continent to overcome economic developmental challenges and achieve sustainable growth.
· Through our integration we will enable the free movement of goods, services, people and capital between national markets.
· Through regional integration, Africa can realise its growth potential, participate effectively in the global economy and share the benefits of globalisation.
· South Africa supports the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) that brings together 54 African countries with a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion.
· The CFTA will create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.
Africa month responds to the aspirations of Agenda 2063, which envisages an Africa with strong cultural identity, values, and ethics.
- Together we can foster unity amongst all Africans across the continent in support of Agenda 2063.
- Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework and roadmap to achieve continental development goals.
- It is underpinned by the AU’s vision to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa that is a dynamic force in the international arena.
- Agenda 2063 is Africa’s strategic roadmap to move us to a free, safe and fully developed continent.
Future growth will be spurred by the continent’s commitment to Agenda 2063 to drive the social, economic and political rejuvenation of Africa.
South Africa’s foreign policy is based on the fact that we cannot achieve a sustainable, developed and economically integrated Africa without peace and security.
- South Africa condemns all forms of terrorism and will support all regional and international efforts to address this scourge.
- We are proud of the role we play through SADC and the AU to ensure peace and stability on the continent.
Once the African Standby Force becomes operational it will provide the AU with a multi-disciplinary, continental peacekeeping force which can be swiftly deployed to build peace and stability for a more safer and prosperous Africa.
Africa is the world’s second largest and second most-populous continent (the first being Asia in both categories).Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.’
‘The culture of Africa is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of countries with various tribes that each have their own unique characteristics from the continent of Africa. It is a product of the diverse populations that today inhabit the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora. African culture is expressed in its arts and crafts, folklore and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. Expressions of culture are abundant within Africa, with large amounts of cultural diversity. The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, agriculture, and human resources of the continent.’
Africa is a resource-rich Continent, and most economies in Africa are still growing.
Africa’s cultures, religions, arts, foods and rich communal living style are very unique to us. The natural warmth and serenity in our forest reserves are the hallmarks of our continent. Greenery surrounds us naturally, fresh vegetables are served on our tables, grandparents guide and teach our values and history to young ones. These experiences are the soul with which every child is born in Africa. No matter where we go, Africa will still be home. Home is where that African ‘soul’ is served with every tale, every dish, every walk because Africa is the cradle of mankind and home of humanity.