Today we celebrate Africa Day.
Africa Day was first celebrated on 25 May 1963 when the leaders of 32 African nations gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to form the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On 25 May 2001, after 38 years, the OAU was replaced by the African Union, which celebrates its 19th anniversary this year.
The African Union was headed by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in 2013, the first woman to chair the committee, and by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2020.
Africa Day celebrates and acknowledges the work of the OAU and AU in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, the progress that Africa has made, and addresses the common challenges that the continent faces in the global environment.
Africa Day also provides us with an important opportunity to teach and engage with each other on the importance of learning about our continent, and using what we learn to grow our sense of citizenship in their country, continent and the world.
Owning and shaping African narratives means that we don’t only focus on the difficulties and challenges Africa has faced and still faces, but we remember the great strides and achievements that we have taken as a continent over the last six decades.
Africa continues to advance in technology, science, medicine and governance, and we know that government agreements around fair trade as well as investment in African economies will contribute to making Africa the next champion of global growth.
We acknowledge the great tragedies that have happened and continue to take place, across our continent and the many Africans displaced by political conflict. Human Rights abuses are sadly all too common, and these must come to an end. This requires the African Union and member states as well as the private sector and civil society to come together to ensure that these abuses have no place on our continent.
In South Africa, similar action is required to issues of gender-based Violence as we reflect on this important holiday. Let us use this day to reflect on the best and most challenging aspects of ourselves. Our thoughts remain with those that have been affected by the Israeli Palestine conflict. We applaud the ceasefire, the role of African states in facilitating these important steps and stress that however complex the issues are, as a school community, we encourage engaged learning and robust dialogue, and most importantly, stand against the transgression of human rights.
“As a country, we are part of Africa and Africa is part of us. What happens in one part of our continent affects us all, and so we must work together to ensure that our continent grows and thrives.” - President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Happy Africa Day!