news Monday, May 25, 2015 - 05:30

Google News doesn’t really have much news for Africa Day, most of the reports it throws up are from African media, and one from Xinhua, the Chinese news agency. If it hadn't been for Twitter, it may have come and gone, but the mainstream media would have had almost no record of it.

May 25, 1963, is the day that 32 African countries met to assert their freedom from colonial powers and exploitation forming the Organization of African Unity.

 

This day was chosen to be Africa Day, and twitter users have asserted their claim to a pan-African identity and solidarity in the experience of colonialism and racism at the hands of western powers.

 

The formation of the OAU was rooted in the vision of Ghanaian political leader Kwame Nkrumah who went on to become the head of the first African country to win independence from its colonial masters the United Kingdom. When Ghana became independent in 1957 Nkrumah had called for a wider African identity, and also said that Ghana’s independence was not enough:

We are going to see that we create our own African personality and identity. We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other countries in Africa; for our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.”

 

Seventeen African countries gained independence between 1958 and 1963 and these countries began to celebrate Africa Liberation Day on April 15 around that time. It was later, after the formation of the OAU with 32 signatory countries that the date was changed to May 25.

OAU was a major political force on the continent until the 1990s, according to South African news channel Enca. But in 2002, the organization was disbanded to form the African Union to cope with challenges that African countries faced – economic challenges had replaced political questions in the last decade of the 20th century.

While the EU and the European Parliament is well known, the Pan African Parliament remains obscure beyond the African continent’s boundaries even though there are 54 countries in the organization.

Many of those who tweeted on the #AfricaDay hashtag spoke about the deliberate diminishing of Africa’s  importance by the west through maps, and other means. 

 

 

 

 

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