Did you know that World Africa Day was inspired by Ghana's independence?

Updated: May 26, 2021

Happy World #AfricaDay wherever you are, you are AMAZING! I hope you can find something positive to do today to mark the day.

So this blog post is going to be short and sweet, but I thought it would be good to talk about how #AfricaDay came about and what it represents. It is a day to be proud of your African heritage, yes. But not only that, it marks the strength and pride of our ancestors and those who came before us, this day represents the achievement they made towards gaining independence for the entire continent. Interestingly, it all started with Ghana... let's get into it.

Kwame Nkrumah, First Ghanaian Prime Minister & President.

The Drive for Independence

As World War II ended, a significant number of African countries began to demand independence from colonial rule, and more political rights. The process of decolonising Africa grew effectiveness in the following years of the war, between 1945 and 1965. Ghana became the first country south of the Sahara, to gain independence from colonial powers on March 6, 1957, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah. This served as a great inspiration to other African states to keep fighting for this dream, and Ghana played a central role in encouraging and supporting this objective for the rest of the continent.

Africa's Liberation Conference, Ghana, 1958.

A year after becoming independent, Ghana hosted the first Conference of Independent African States on April 15, 1958. There were many African country leaders in attendance including Ethiopia, Libya, Sudan, Liberia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco and others, with representatives of the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Union of Cameroonian Peoples. The conference was a collective gathering with one primary objective, the enforcement of the rejection of colonial rule. Thus, it birthed the Pan-African movement in the continent, and became the first 'Pan-African liberation conference' to be held in Africa. It brought together various African countries because they had one common goal. At this same meeting, the first 'African Freedom Day' was celebrated, which was later recognised as 'Africa Day'.

The African Oath

Emperor Haile Selassie

Five years after the African convention, on May 25, 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by the great Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. The OAU was formed in a similar conduct to the African liberation conference; over thirty African nations in attendance, with the aim of influencing the decolonisation of the entire continent. The countries in attendance included Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, and Southern Rhodesia, just to name a few. During the meeting, an oath was made by the involved parties. Which was to:

  • support freedom fighters

  • remove military access to colonial nations

  • establish a charter to improve the livelihood of member states across Africa.

Haile Selassie pledged, “May this convention of union last 1,000 years.

One Identity

After the first conference in Ghana and the forming of the OAU, it had left a mark of common African identity, unity and fighting against colonialism. One of the outcomes of the conference was that each country should observe an 'African Freedom Day' once a year to mark,

“the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolise the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”

April 15th was elected as an 'African Freedom Day' or 'Africa Liberation Day', and countries all over the continent tend to acknowledge it at some point during the month of April each year. However, it was the formation of the OAU (Organisation of African Unity) on May 25, 1963, which marked the beginning of what is known today as Africa Day.

What a great message to remind us that much better is achieved when we are all united :)

That's the end of the post, as usual I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new!

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Thanks for reading.

- SS


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