President Hage Geingob has marked Africa Day by paying tribute to the revolutionary sons and daughters of Africa, who ignited the spirit of Pan-Africanism and spearheaded the fight for economic and political integration.
African Unity Day, also known as Africa Day, is celebrated annually on 25 May.
It commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on this day in 1963. The OAU has since been transformed into the African Union (AU). It is a statutory public holiday in several countries such as Namibia, the Gambia, Mali, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“As we celebrate African pride, unity and determination, Africans should remember those who carried with resilience the torch of liberty and independence, including the founders of the OAU, who paved the way for African integration and unity”, Geingob said in his message yesterday.
The day was commemorated under the theme ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa we Want’, which he said is a powerful reminder about the need to embrace the continent’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.
“The resilience of our arts and cultures in the face of colonial domination and imperialist pillage is a source of strength and creativity as we deal with the challenges facing us,” the President stated.
Furthermore, Geingob said the continent is celebrating the day under difficult circumstances that have been occasioned by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has affected African economies, dislocated nations’ way of life and undermined the gains Africa has made in governance and human development over the past three decades.
However, he noted that in the midst of the pandemic, and with many Afro-pessimists predicting a doomsday scenario for Africa as “ground zero” for Covid-19, African people have remained resilient.
“The resilience of the African continent during this difficult period is ample demonstration of the progress the African people have made in governance by strengthening processes, systems and institutions as pivotal anchors in accelerating service delivery and the economic emancipation of our continent,” Geingob said.
The preeminence of processes, systems and institutions is also buttressed by the fact that Africa has now entered the third wave of leadership, where governance is about the rule of law, respect for democratic institutions and the will of the people.
Geingob said the progress Africa has made with regards to the 15 Flagship Projects of Agenda 2063, specifically the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), should give Africans hope that the dream of prosperity, continental integration and economic emancipation will be realised.
“Inasmuch as our progress should be seen in the context of the glorious journey we have travelled since the foundation of the OAU, we should also measure our progress in the context of the challenges we face as a continent,” he added.
In a statement on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said on this day, homage is paid to the founders of the OAU, who worked tirelessly for the independence of African states, and fulfilled their primary historic mission.
“Building on the solid foundations laid by the founders and in the pursuit of economic independence, on 11 July 2002, African leaders transformed the OAU into the AU in order to move forward towards integration and increased levels of cooperation among African states, as well as to boost Africa’s economic growth and development,” added Nandi-Ndaitwah.
“Shaping an Africa whose development is people-centred, harnessing the potential offered by African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for its children, to whom Africa’s future belongs, remains a priority above all priorities. Children of Africa need to understand the concept and wisdom of African culture to own it and guard it as a heritage for future generations,” she urged.