A-Day is of international significance and marks the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. It is considered the predecessor organization of the African Union (AU) which was founded in 2001. During the worldwide festivities, people of African-descended cultures join to celebrate the fight against colonialism and for the independence of African states.
After World War II, the process of decolonization of the African continent gained dynamics as African states increasingly demanded stronger political rights and independence. Thus, between 1945 and 1965, the first African countries gained independence from the European colonial powers, as for example Ghana, Togo, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. Today, all African states have achieved political independence.
When Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to free itself from British colonial power on March 6, 1957, it sent a clear signal to other African countries. A little more than a year after its independence, Ghana, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, convened the first conference of independent African states in Accra, Ghana’s capital, on April 15, 1958. The independent states as participants were Libya, Ethiopia, Liberia, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, the United Republic of Egypt and Ghana. In the context that not all African states were yet independent in 1958, this conference was an important sign because it was the first Pan-African conference and a clear commitment to reject colonial and imperialist domination of the continent.
Why Africa Freedom Day became Africa Day
The first conference of independent African states was held in Accra on April 15, 1958, so this day was established as African Freedom Day or African Liberation Day. From 1959 to 1963, African Liberation Day was celebrated in Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, and by African people in Britain, China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. As more and more African countries became independent, the need arose for an organization that would articulate the aspirations of African people and their struggle. Therefore, on May 25, 1963, the leaders of 32 African nations met in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and established the Organization of African Unity. Since then, A-Day has worldwide been celebrated annually on May 25.
Celebrations in Ghana this year
In Ghana, Africa Day was previously observed as a statutory holiday. Over the last few years, it has been observed as a Commemorative Day. Organizations and institutions across the country celebrate in diverse ways. Before the pandemic, the day was marked with activities including cultural events, discussions, donations and competitions. Some international schools with students from different parts of the continent normally celebrate this day by hosting activities ranging from choreographies, poetry recitals, art and short plays. In some companies across the country the staff dresses up in traditional attires to mark the day. During the pandemic, the day is still celebrated with a vibrant representation of the rich African culture. One example is the Africa Day Concert. This is a virtual concert where artists perform in various locations from Lagos to Johannesburg and stream the African culture to the world to celebrate A-Day.
As already mentioned, all African states have achieved political independence today. However, there can be no mention of full economic and social independence. There is still much to be done for the full liberation of the African continent from colonial trade structures and exploitation.
While celebrating Africa for its heritage, resilience, beauty and culture, we should also stand up for its independence and learn about, recognize and ultimately dismantle existing neo-colonial structures.
fairafric does its part by leaving the entire value chain in the country of origin of the cocoa and focusing on self-determined action and cooperation at eye level. As a multinational team, we are breaking neo-colonial structures and rethinking trade relations together in a truly fair way.
Thank you to all who support us! We wish you a great A-Day!