Today, the African continent marks the 57th anniversary of the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
This year’s celebrations will include a special virtual broadcast featuring speeches by the President of the Republic of South Africa and Chair of the African Union (AU), President Cyril Ramaphosa; the AU Commission Chair His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat; the President of the Pan African Women Association, Ms Eunice Ipinge, and the AU Youth Envoy, Ms Aya Chebbi.
The only remaining founding father of the OAU, H.E Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of the Republic of Zambia will also feature in today’s celebration. KK as he is known, walked and worked side by side with other gallant giants of Africa’s liberation in establishing the organisation that strived to free the whole continent from the shackles of colonialism. He served as Zambia’s first president and as the chairman of the OAU from 1970 to 1973.
The OAU was established on 25 May 1963 with the aim of promoting political, economic and social integration among the family of African States, and to eradicate colonialism, apartheid and neo-colonialism from the African continent.
The organisation was transformed into the African Union on 09 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, to achieve greater unity, cohesion and solidarity between African countries and nations.
This year 2020 celebration coincides with South Africa’s one-year tenure as Chair of the African Union. It also takes place amid the continent’s advancing efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19.
South Africa is also celebrating Africa Month under the theme: “Silencing the Guns, Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development and intensifying the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The celebration of Africa Month and Africa Day provides an opportunity to promote African unity, deeper regional integration and recommit Africa to a common destiny.
It is also an opportunity to educate the people of the continent on the African Union’s initiatives to fight the pandemic.
The African Union has developed a comprehensive COVID-19 strategy, established an African Union COVID-19 Response Fund and strengthened the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sola Kolawole Onikoyi is an agriculturist and public affairs analyst from Ikoyi Ile, Oyo State