Africa Day celebrates progress

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

African leaders will assemble in Mpumalanga for the 44th Africa Day celebrations tomorrow.

The day is a commemoration of the establishment of the now defunct Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which has been replaced by the African Union.

It is a reminder of the gathering of African heads of states that took place in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at which the OAU was established.

The OAU played a key role in the development of the African continent.

Not only did it steadfastly promote the principles of unity and cooperation expounded by its founding fathers, it also created fundamental instruments for promoting human rights, the integration of the continent, and the promotion of democracy and good governance.

This year's celebrations will be held in Kwaggafontein Stadium, in Nkangala.

The spokesman for the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation, Sammy Mpatlanyane, said South Africans will also celebrate Africa Day in acknowledgement of the achievements of the African Union.

These achievements include the promotion of unity and solidarity in Africa as a whole, the achievement of a better life for the people of Africa, eradication of all forms of oppression, the equality of all the people of Africa and the acceleration of the empowerment of women.

Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla is expected to deliver the keynote speech.

Speaking on this day last year, Makwetla said Africa Day was an opportunity to pay a special tribute to all countries, including Nigeria, Uganda and Madagascar.

"We must not forget that the southern Africa countries of Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe made huge sacrifices in their quest to ensure that we attained our freedom.

"The apartheid regime's criminal policy of destabilisation and the cross-border raids left many people dead or maimed.

"Our oppressors had thought that terror by a powerful neighbour would force the countries of the region to abandon their support for us," Makwetla said.