Call It Whatever Names: Africa Freedom Day, African Liberation Day, or Africa Day, All are Still Relevant
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Africa Day is an annual commemoration of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. On that day 32 independent African states signed the founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 2002, the OAU became the African Union. Africa Day is celebrated around the world.
On April 15, 1958, in the city of Accra, Ghana, African leaders and political activists gathered at the first Conference of Independent African States. It was attended by representatives of the governments of Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, The United Arab Republic (which was the federation of Egypt and Syria) and representatives of the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Union of Cameroonian Peoples.This conference was significant in that it represented the first Pan-African Conference held on African soil. It was also significant in that it represented the collective expression of African People’s disgust with the system of colonialism and imperialism, which brought so much suffering to African People. Further, it represented the collective will to see the system of colonialism permanently done away with.
After 500 years of the most brutal suffering known to humanity, the rape of Africa and the subsequent slave trade, which cost Africa in excess of 100,000,000 of her children, the masses of African People singularly, separately, individually, in small disconnected groupings for centuries had said, “Enough!” But in 1958, at the Accra Conference, it was being said in ways that emphasized joint, coordinated and unified action.
This conference gave sharp clarity and definition to Pan-Africanism, the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism. The conference as well laid the foundation and the strategy for the further intensification and coordination of the next stage of the African Revolution, for the liberation of the rest of Africa, and eventual and complete unification.
The Conference called for the founding of African Freedom Day, a day to “mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”
Five years later after the First Conference of Independent African States in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, another historical meeting occurred. On May 25, 1963, leaders of thirty-two independent African States met to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU). By then more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence from colonial rule. At this historic meeting, the date of Africa Freedom Day was changed from April 15th to May 25th, and African Freedom Day was declared African Liberation Day (ALD). African Liberation Day has been held on May 25th in every corner of the world since.
African Liberation Day, as an institution within the Pan-African Movement, reflects the growth and development of Pan-Africanism. When Pan-Africanism was faced with fighting colonialism, the focus of African Liberation Day was on the anti-colonial struggle and the fight for national independence. As Pan-Africanism grew stronger and developed into a more mature objective, African Liberation Day activities reflected this maturation.
African Liberation Day has contributed to the struggle to raise the level of political awareness and organization in African communities worldwide. It has further been used as a tool to provide a platform for many African and other oppressed peoples to inform the African masses about their respective struggles for true liberation and development. Particularly for Southern Africa, African Liberation Day played a critical role in the defeat of colonialism and apartheid. It inspired others to support through various progressive organizations, liberation committees and movements, both in Africa and the socialist countries around the world, the building of anti-colonial and national liberation movements by generating arms for the freedom fighters, offering a platform where the world could receive political education on the nature of the struggle, and providing a mass assembly where the spirit and moral of the freedom fighters could be reinvigorated.
From the first ALD held in Accra, Ghana, where Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah planted the first seed to the hundreds of African Liberation Day observances which have occurred all over the world. African Liberation Day stands committed to the struggle for national independence, African redemption, African liberation, African unification and scientific socialism. Today, African Liberation Day activities are being organized throughout Africa and all over the world where African people are living and struggling. The journey down the Revolutionary path can only be accomplished by joining a revolutionary organization working for the people. The freedom of Africa and African people demand revolutionary action through revolutionary organization.
One of the difficult tasks on the African continent is to clearly define an analytical framework for assessing changes in the political landscape across the continent today. This difficulty is caused by a number of factors: First, from pre-colonial times, there has never been any homogeneity in the political environment and political culture across the continent.
Admittedly, the majority of African states were colonized but Ethiopia stands out as an exception and therefore has to be placed in its distinct position. Secondly, the colonized countries got independence at different times. Countries such as Ghana got their independence as early as 1957, but there are also late comers, such as Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Of course, there has also been birth of new nations, such as Eritrea and most recently, Southern Sudan – bringing into focus the role of self-determination sometimes by territoriality, ethno-cultural commonality, or subjective collective self-assertion or a combination of all of these.
However, having put this caveat, it is tenable to map out the political landscape in Africa, based in particularly important phenomena using their impact on political and socio-impacts as the defining criteria. Once we approach this question from this perspective, it is tenable to map out the changing political landscape in Africa.
The question of liberation is still relevant in today’s Africa. We do not have western colonialism but we do have a lot bad leadership which is still holding the development of Africa, and no doubt, we are still the poorest continent even though some said we are the richest in terms of natural endowments. Long live Africa!! Long live African Liberation!!!!!!
“... Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories ...” PAIGC-1965