2022 Africa Day Celebration and Why We Celebrate Africa Day!

Africa Day is observed annually to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was created on 25 May 1963. It is the precursor of the African Union (AU).

Africa Day has become a day of celebration for Africans and people of African descent all over the world and has even morphed into Africa Month which is celebrated throughout the month of May. Each year, the African Union (AU) commemorates International Africa Day on 25 May. It is usually marked by festivals, concerts and speeches.

But, beyond the colourful festivities, what's the point?

The History: The first time Africa Day was celebrated in some form, in Accra in 1958, there were only eight independent countries involved in the celebrations.

Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president after independence in 1957, convened the First Congress of Independent African States.

The conference was meant to be a collective platform, on which newly formed states could build a post-colonial legacy.

The discussions were in the vein of Pan-Africanism, a political and cultural movement, which had its roots in the mid-19th century ideas of formerly enslaved people in the West Indies and the United States of America. It moved to Africa through the support for the continent's liberation movements.

The African Union: By 1963, 32 African countries were independent and met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to form the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

The organisation's "primary aim will be to 'decolonise' the remaining bastions of white rule in Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola", the BBC reported at the time.
2022 Africa Day Celebration and Why We Celebrate Africa Day!
2022 Africa Day Celebration and Why We Celebrate Africa Day!
They met on 25 May, and it had been a year in the making.

It saw the launch of the OAU Charter.

Over the next few years, the OAU supported liberation movements, like the ANC. And, in particular, pressured the international community to impose sanctions on the apartheid government.

In 2001, the OAU was dissolved and was replaced by the African Union.

The new formation had a broader mandate of development, peace and security, in order to address the new set of problems the continent faced.

In the years since, the AU has used the day to launch a series of programmes, which focuses on issues like gender, youth and health.

This year's theme - Arts, Culture and Heritage - looks at preserving and restoring history, identity and culture.

The Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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