Celebrating Pan Africanism, continental pride
Rutendo Gomwe and
AFRICA Day, which Zimbabwe celebrates today, is a unique occasion to share information, knowledge, and best practices of the past and work for the realisation of a prosperous continent.
Today, the African continent is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and its successor, the African Union.
Posting on the African Union website yesterday, the continental body said the celebration of the 60th anniversary is an opportunity to recognise the role and contribution of the founders of the continental organisation and many other Africans on the continent.
In its statement, the AU said it was also an opportunity to celebrate those in the diaspora who have contributed greatly to the political liberation of the continent, and equally, to the socio-economic emancipation of Africa.
“It is an opportunity to share information, knowledge, and best practices of the past and to encourage each other to take on the vision of the AU, as well as to drive the realisation of the “Africa We Want”, under Agenda 2063.
“It is also an opportune moment for the African Union to reflect on the spirit of pan-Africanism, which connects the past to the present and to the continent’s aspirations for the future,” said AU.
Algeria Ambassador to Zimbabwe Nourredine Yazid said his country is supportive of the growth of the African economy and the need for integration, as reflected by its signing and ratification of the AfCFTA.
“Algeria attaches particular importance to the implementation of the AfCFTA. This importance has been illustrated through the leading interest of the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in the promotion of economic relations with African countries and the development of intra-African trade.
“In this context, the Algerian government has redoubled its efforts to accelerate the implementation of major projects initiated in the past and aimed at greater connectivity with the rest of the African continent,” said Ambassador Yazid.
Mr Takura Chavundura, a student at Harare Polytechnic, said he will wear African attire to celebrate the day.
“We will hold a Zoom meeting with my friends from Botswana, South, and Zambia to discuss the continent. As Africans let us unite and love one another as one people,” he said.
A woman from Harare who preferred to be only identified as Munashe said Africa Day is important for Africans to stand up against external forces.
“It begins when we appreciate that we
are Africans and know where we stand and believe that we will reach our potential as Africans. Africa Day is a day we celebrate being purely Africans,” she said.
Social commentator Mr Edmore Muchirahondo said the day is of paramount importance on the calendar of the African people.
“What has happened over the years since the foundation in 1963 by our forefathers has been a loss of traction in terms of the founding values of the African Union — pan-Africanism. We must remember this day and speak boldly about it as a day we came to be.
“I think it is incumbent upon us and our leaders to go back to our founding values which are pan-Africanism, uniting as Africans and fighting to be a standalone continent that does not rely on the Western countries in terms of economic and political development,” he said.
Mr Samuel Makumbe (23), a Harare resident, said he will spend Africa Day with family and friends.
“This day is for Africans and workers will have an opportunity to rest and have quality time with friends and family. It is a special day for the African people as it will be a day to commemorate Africans,” he said.
It was on this date, May 25 in 1963, that 32 Heads of independent African States met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia along with leaders from African liberation movements to craft a way forward for Africa’s complete independence from imperialism, colonialism, and apartheid.
The outcome of the meeting was the creation of Africa’s first post-independence continental institution, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
The OAU was formed as a manifestation of the pan-African vision for an Africa that was united, free, and in control of its own destiny and this was solemnised in the OAU Charter which was adopted on May 25 #AfricaDay, 1963.