Sunday, 25 May 2008

AFRICA DAY 2008


“There is always something new out of Africa.” – Pliny

Today is Africa Day and each year on May 25th, is dedicated to the celebration of Africa in all its diversity, beauty and mystery. Africa Day commemorates the founding anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, on May 25, 1963. In May 1963, thirty-two independent African States, who had genuine hopes and visions for the continent of Africa, came together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to create the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The Africa Day symposium was first envisioned as an annual event in celebration of the founding of the OAU.

Starting from 2008, the annual symposium takes place in September to acknowledge the Sirte Declaration, the founding document of the African Union. In September 1999, the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity issued the famous declaration which called for the establishment of the African Union (AU). The African Union is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 53 African nations. Established on July 9, 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the amalgamated African Economic Community (AEC) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Its headquarters is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Among the objectives of the AU are to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent; to promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; to achieve peace and security in Africa; and to promote democratic institutions, good governance and human rights.

Every year, Africans mark May 25th as an official Africa Liberation day. The date is celebrated to push for an onward progress on the liberation movement and symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.

To celebrate Africa Day, here is Angélique Kidjo of Benin, singing “Agolo”.

The painting above is by Roy Astley Fryer of South Africa and encapsulates the spirit of the great continent.

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