Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Africa Day Not Adequately Promoted in South Africa

Sibusiso Banda

Today, 25 May 2011, we are celebrating Africa Day. This is one of the most important days in the African continent’s history. During the past few years we have seen Johannesburg starting to celebrate the day, largely ignored in South Africa’s past as the country was going through apartheid.

This year I have not seen a single poster or heard even a two minute feature on radio or television.

On this day 48 years ago, leaders of thirty-two independent African States met to form the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Then only two thirds of Africa had achieved independence from colonial rule. At this historic meeting the date of Africa Freedom Day was changed from April 15th to May 25th and Africa Freedom Day was declared African Liberation Day (ALD).

African Liberation Day has been held on May 25th in every corner of the world since but what is amazing is that the day is that is celebrated as Africa Day across the continent and as a public holiday in many countries to commemorate the achievement independence and active roles played by our every own African nationalist leaders such as Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and even our very own Nelson Mandela just to mention a few.

Strangely countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia don’t have public holidays on the day. Why these countries don’t celebrate it is a mystery which has been dragging unsolved for almost 5 decades. But various experts, analysts and professors such as Tawana Kupe, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Wits and Associate Professor of Media Studies believes that it’s both the African and western media that is responsible for tarnishing African cultures by promoting western values in their broadcast.

Others even go to the extreme length of shedding the blame to the youth a as “they are easily


To how far we believe all these analysis “as truth” is up to an individual system of belief but what I can say is that the youth needs to decide how to embrace and promote values in every day situations.

By doing so we need to start thinking critically about the information we consume from the media, most importantly let’s starting embracing our African brothers and sisters with the same love and protection we give to family because after all we are all humans who live on the African continent.

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