All You Need To Know About Africa Day
Have you ever experienced the incredulous look in a foreigner’s eyes when you explain to them that Africa is infact a continent and not a single country? And when you tell them you’re from SOUTH Africa and they ask you where that is? And all this before even starting to explain that no lions do not actually roam the city streets and no, a giraffe is not a typical pet for kids.
But you know what, maybe they’re onto something. What’s wrong with considering ourselves African before identifying ourselves as belonging to one of 54 separate states? With the world in turmoil as Brexit steals the headlines and Trump well, keeps being Trump, we’re becoming more and more defined by the imaginary lines we draw rather than the soil we share. Taking pride in our incredible continent and feeling the beat of Mamma Africa pumping in our collective veins may just be the step to healing that this planet needs.
A Brief History of Africa Day
Africa Day is celebrated on 25 May each year. Formerly known as African Freedom Day, an offshoot from the first ever Pan African Conference held in 1958, it was originally an occasion to mark:
“the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.” – www.sahistory.org
Following in Ghana’s inspirational lead, as more and more African nations were gaining independence from colonial rule, Africa Day served as testament to the power of the people to overcome any form of oppression. It was only in 1994 when Apartheid officially ended and South Africa became a democracy that we were allowed to join the OAU (Organistaion of African Unity). Subsequently,
Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU now the AU) from its creation in May 25, 1963 in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made, while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent face in a global environment. – www.gov.za
5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Africa Day
Africa Day is actually observed as a public holiday in nine African countries but sadly not so for us in South Africa. But nevermind, this year Africa Day falls on a Saturday so we have plenty of time to create our own celebrations and remember why we’re proud to be African.
- Host a braai with an African twist – rather than the usual boerie and chops, why not ask your friends to each bring a dish from a different African nation. Tempt your tastebuds with Moroccan spiced kebabs and Mozambiquen peri peri prawns while you come together to celebrate our continent.
- Hold a Morabara tournament – a what? The Morabara is a wooden board game that’s played across various african countries (and known by various names). Gather friends and have a fun day.
- Visit one of the 10 Top African Museums – including the Apartheid Museum in Joburg and the Iziko Museum in Cape Town and learn about our shared history. Or visit any local museum in your area.
- Make a donation – to one of these worthy causes across the continent from social, economic and community development, to nature conservation, women empowerment, children havens etc.
- Take part in a walking tour – through one of South Africa’s colourful townships and learn more about our own lekker local culture. Just be sure to attend only an organised tour that promotes safe and responsible travel, offering a fair exchange with these communities.
Whatever your way, celebrate Africa Day on 25 May! And Keep an eye on our site for exciting volunteering opportunities to bring together your own communities.