Africa Day provides an invaluable opportunity for South Africans to reconnect and recommit themselves to supporting all government interventions aimed at developing a better Africa and a better world.
Africa Day commemorates the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, which later became the African Union (AU). This day acknowledges the progress made by Africans while reflecting on the common challenges faced in a globalized world.
The African Union, consisting of 53 member states, has united the African continent to collectively address challenges such as armed conflicts, climate change, and poverty.
History of Africa Day
Following World War II, the decolonization movement gained momentum as Africans fought for increased political rights and independence. While some colonial powers reluctantly relinquished control, others faced prolonged struggles from African nations seeking liberation. Between 1945 and 1965, numerous African countries gained independence from European colonial powers. Ghana, becoming independent on March 6, 1957, served as a source of inspiration for other African countries in their fight against colonial rule and played a central role in the struggle for freedom.
Just over a year after gaining independence, Ghana, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, hosted the first Conference of Independent African States on April 15, 1958. Attendees included Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, as well as representatives from the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Union of Cameroonian Peoples. It is noteworthy that at that time, only eight African countries were independent. The conference unequivocally expressed Africa’s rejection of colonial and imperialist domination and became the first Pan-African conference held on the continent, fostering cooperation in the struggle against colonialism.
In an effort to further encourage unity and the fight against colonial rule, the conference called for the observance of African Freedom Day once a year. This day would mark “the onward progress of the liberation movement and symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.” Consequently, April 15 was designated as African Freedom Day (later known as Africa Liberation Day), laying the foundation for what would eventually become Africa Day.
Source: South African History Online