Do we all appreciate Africa Day?

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DID you know that only 12 African countries recognise May 25 as a public holiday.

And there are 54 countries in Africa!

This is really sad.

It has been agreed that Africa Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the peoples and governments of Africa while introspecting on what we have been doing as Africans to advance the continent’s cause.

It has never been in doubt that Africa Day presents an opportunity for Africans to remember that on May 25 1963, 32 African countries signed the Charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which later evolved into the African Union (AU). 

Only 30 African countries were independent from colonial rule at the time. But these were not happy to celebrate and enjoy their independence while their fellow brothers and sisters were still under the yoke of colonialism.

The charter called for greater unity among African countries and fully supported the independence of African countries from colonialism and apartheid.

The charter promoted economic and political co-operation with a vision that all people on the continent should live freely and in prosperity.

Today, Africa Day presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the progress made by the continent in achieving the dreams of the founding fathers.

Yes, we have so much to celebrate but when we have only a few countries marking the day as a public holiday what are we saying?

Recently, l was really chaffed when l read that South Africa is in the process of introducing Swahili in their curricula since it is one of commonly spoken languages on the continent.

It is these seemingly ‘small’ things that Africa has to take into consideration if we are to really take off as a continent.

If every country were to make May 25 a public holiday, would it not increase our solidarity!

To have one day when all Africa would reflect, talk and discuss what it means to be African, where we are, where we are going is not too much to ask for a continent that continues to be persecuted and exploited.

Indeed, for almost two decades after the creation of the OAU, the focus of the organisation remained almost entirely on the decolonisation of the continent and the eradication of apartheid.

And today, the vision remains the same as in 1963: for Africa to achieve inclusive and sustainable development and to unite to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of their peoples. 

Unfortunately, one of the most strategic pillars to get there, the African Continental Free Trade Area, which seeks to get millions of people out of poverty, is yet to be realised. 

The infrastructure is not there, and even if it was, the free movement of goods and people is going to be difficult to realise in an environment where the West continues to interfere in the affairs of sovereign States.

We all know the Africa we want; a prosperous and thriving Africa, where citizens realise their full potential and fully benefit from our vast natural resources.

However, we can only achieve that when we are truly united and pulling in one direction as a continent as well as speaking with one voice.

Let us take care of the seemingly ‘small’ things first, like being on the same page with regards to days like Africa Day.

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