Millicent Kgeledi, Chairperson EFF Ward 132, writes:
Africa Day represents peace and harmony, a celebration of independence, empowerment of youth and women, and unbeknown to many, a connection with our roots as a continent.
This year, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in South Africa, is identifying with Africa Day and reconnecting the South African youth to their African roots. The EFF hosted a national event in Pretoria to commemorate Africa Day.
But, do we ever wonder what Africa Day is really about? It surely cannot be about celebrations, rallies and all the superficial aspects that are usually associated with commemorations. Africa Day is more than that.
A historical perspective – The First Congress of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana on 15 April 1958. The meeting showcased the progress of liberation movements in Africa in addition to highlighting the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.
In essence, Africa Day is an annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU) on May 25, 1963. It serves as a reminder to Africans and the global community that Africa is determined to free itself from foreign domination and exploitation!
On Foreign Aid – Let us remember the leaders who made a commitment many years ago to build a strong Africa that will be independent of foreign aid, an Africa defined by financial freedom from the global north. We cannot continue depending on foreign aid when we pride ourselves on having achieved our independence from colonial rule.
On Xenophobia – How do we commemorate Africa Day when we still see our African brothers and sisters as foreigners in their continent? When we raise our hands to attack our fellow African brothers or sisters in the name of patriotism, we have gone against the very foundation of Africa Day.
Africa Day is a celebration of a united Africa that overlooks geographical boundaries. A united Africa is the core of the purpose of Africa Day and as a shared vision by the founding fathers of this day, we ought to show this in our lifestyle and treatment of our fellow brothers and sisters on the continent.
On African leadership – Africa is slowly showcasing leaders who are committed to the transformation agenda of the continent. They continue to realise the need for good governance and accountable and corrupt-free leadership. We cannot continue to commemorate Africa Day when we still have heads of states who refuse to commit to the visions set out at the formation of the OAU, namely, to ensure that all Africans enjoy human rights, to raise the living standards of all Africans and to settle arguments and disputes between members – not through violence.
Africa continues to face many challenges of illicit financial flows from the continent, corruption in different state entities, youth unemployment, unrest and conflict in various parts of the continent, gender inequalities including gender-based violence, child marriages, drug abuse and many other social ills.
But in the same breath, and in the midst of the above challenges, Africa is rising and finding its silver lining by setting its own development agenda. Who cannot celebrate Africa Day when Africa is now working on strengthening collaboration through regional economic communities, starting the work on the high-speed train, the single African air transport market, climate-smart agriculture programmes with women empowerment at the centre of these projects and many other similar projects being led.
How do we not celebrate Africa Day when the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame has proposed a reform strategy to transform and enhance the work that is being done by the African Union? Yes indeed Africa is rising and Africa Day should continue being a symbolic day of growth and true independence of Africa and the unity of the different countries within the continent.
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