#AfricaDay – The Essence, The Importance
Till the turn of the 2oth century, Africa was comfortably ruled and controlled by colonial masters who constantly and greedily deprived us of our dues and rights and made the continent ever subservient to the Colonial states, without any much resistance or agitation. But at the years went by, they eyes of the young men and women in the African colonies and territories began to open up to the truth about their impoverished state and they began to clamour for the freedom of their countries.
In different countries across the continent, young men and women were being sponsored abroad to attend conferences and discussions on the liberation of their nations and the collective interest of the continent at large. Here in Nigeria, folks like Awolowo, Ransome-Kuti, Jaja Nwachukwu, Prince Adedoyin, Eboh, to mention but a few, led the movement for the emancipation of Nigeria as a nation state.
Here is an excerpt of what Wikipedia had about the celebration of Africa Day
The First Congress of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana on 15 April 1958. It was convened by Prime Minister of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and comprised representatives from Egypt (then a constituent part of the United Arab Republic), Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon. The Union of South Africa was not invited. The conference showcased progress of liberation movements on the Africa continent in addition to symbolizing the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. Although the Pan-African Congress had been working towards similar goals since its foundation in 1900, this was the first time such a meeting had taken place on African soil.
The Conference called for the founding of an 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.”
The conference was notable in that it laid the basis for the subsequent meetings of Africa heads of state and government during the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Group era, until the formation of the OAU in 1963.
Five years later, on 25 May 1963, representatives of thirty African nations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie. By then more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence, mostly from imperial European states. At this meeting, the Organisation of African Unity was founded, with the initial aim to encourage the decolonisation of Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. The organisation pledged to support the work conducted by freedom fighters, and remove military access to colonial nations. A charter was set out which sought to improve the living standards across member states. Selassie exclaimed, “May this convention of union last 1,000 years.”
The charter was signed by all attendees on 26 May, with the exception of Morocco. At that meeting, Africa Freedom Day was renamed Africa Liberation Day. In 2002, the OAU was replaced by the African Union. However, the renamed celebration of Africa Day continued to be celebrated on 25 May in respect to the formation of the OAU.
Even with that being said, every year, May 22 – 24 has been set aside to acknowledge the African Heritage and celebrate the greatness that lies within the countries and continent of Africa.
The very essence of today’s main post however is not to do any other thing but to herald this day and also to challenge the young minds of this country and this continent that the total liberation of Nigeria lies within our grasp and we are the ones that would determine whether this country and continent would get complete freedom from the colonial masters who still have their imprints everywhere on our lands and in our lives. For most of the countries that got independence around the 50’s and 60’s, they leveraged on the knowledge of the young scholars in the country who had exposure to the Western culture and education and then used them as a tool to foster their freedom through deliberate talks and debates and conversations. It is high time we also took a similar, more strategic and tactical approach to gaining complete autonomy of our future and destinies in this continent.
Enough said for one post!