While some countries like Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Namibia, Zambia, Mali, Mauritania, Lesotho and Zimbabwe across the continent is observing and celebrating Africa’s day which is today, May 25th, Others go on as if it isn’t Africa’s special day.
Here in Nigeria, the day is celebrated by brands and schools where indigenes dress in vibrant costumes celebrating their rich culture or dressed to respect a traditional deity. They dance, drum and sing their native song or an African theme, artists also perform on this day at various locations.
Though this year theme Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want comes with the pressure of the covid-19 pandemic and other pressing issues countries face especially that of Nigeria’s so many issues.
History of Africa Day
Ghana, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, convened the first conference of independent African states in Accra, Ghana’s capital, on April 15, 1958. Before then it was the first sub-Saharan African country to free itself from British colonial power on March 6, 1957 so it had to send a message to other African countries and a clear commitment to reject colonial and imperialist domination of the continent.
In attendance were Libya, Ethiopia, Liberia, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, the United Republic of Egypt and Ghana as not all African states at that time were independent in 1958.
The first conference of independent African states was established as African Freedom Day or African Liberation Day and was celebrated in Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, and by African people in Britain, China, the Soviet Union, and the United States
As more and more African countries became independent, they needed an organization that would articulate the aspirations of African people and their struggle. The leaders of 30 African nations met in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and established the Organization of African Unity on May 25, 1963.
The OAU was created to help bring about change, freedom and independence to many African countries. Since its establishment on the 25th of May many other states have joined.