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Tuesday, 25 May 2010
AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY
“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
African Liberation Day is celebrated on May 25th every year and on this day, many countries in Africa celebrate the hard-fought achievements of their freedom from European colonial powers. Many African countries and African communities around the world play an active role in organising events and celebrating African Liberation Day. Ghana, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States are all involved in maintaining the momentum of this commemorative day. In Ghana, May 25th is a public holiday. Various activities organised include formal gatherings with panel discussions, street marches, speeches by political and social leaders, rallies featuring cultural entertainment, poetry, and speakers.
The special connection with Ghana is that in 1957 Ghana was the first African country south of the Sahara to secure independence from colonial rule. The newly independent nation took its name from an empire that flourished near that region between the 4th and 10th centuries. African Freedom Day was founded during the first Conference of Independent African States, which attracted African leaders and political activists from various African countries, in Ghana on April 15, 1958. Government representatives from eight independent African states attended the conference, which was the first Pan-African conference in the continent. The purpose of the day was to annually mark the liberation movement’s progress and to symbolise the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.
Between 1958 and 1963 the struggle for independence in Africa grew bigger and there was much support and activism not only in Africa, but also around the world. During this period, 17 countries in Africa won their independence and 1960 was proclaimed the Year of Africa. On May 25, 1963, 31 African leaders convened a summit meeting to found the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). They renamed Africa Freedom Day as “African Liberation Day” and changed its date to May 25. The founding date of the OAU is also referred to as “Africa Day”. African Liberation Day has helped to raise political awareness in African communities across the world. It has also been a source of information about the struggles for liberation and development.
An outline of the map of Africa, or the shape of Africa, is often used as a symbol for the day. Pan-African colors, may also be used for the day, and come in different sets of three colours. For example, the green, gold, and red colors used in the flag of Ghana or the red, black, and green colors adopted by the American-based Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA)
After about 500 years of the most brutal suffering known to humanity, the enslavement of Africa and the subsequent trade in human souls, which cost Africa in excess of 100,000,000 of her children, the masses of African People in the 1950s and 1960s finally were able to shout with a single voice: “Enough! Let us be free and able to shape our own destiny.” The bell of freedom that rang then, still reverberates and fills Africans everywhere with pride, determination and renewed energy for continuing to fight for what is their birthright: Freedom, dignity, self-determination, prosperity and
Happy African Liberation Day to all Africans all over the world!
I have been blogging daily on this platform for several years now. It is surprising that I have persisted as the world is changing and "microblogging" is now the norm. I blog to amuse myself, make comment on current affairs, externalise some of my creativity, keep notes on things that interest me, learn something new and to surprise myself with things that I discover about this wonderful, and sometimes crazy, world we live in.
I sometimes get the impression that I am on a soapbox delivering a monologue, so your comments are welcome.