Africa Month: Cel­e­brat­ing the jour­ney to african unity

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page -

The Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Africa Unity, es­tab­lished in May 1963, made our con­ti­nent the first to foster na­tion build­ing through unity and free­dom. To cel­e­brate the OAU and its suc­ces­sor, the African Union, the Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture hosts a se­ries of events dur­ing Africa Month.

The Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Africa Unity (OAU) was founded on 25 May 1963, formed out of ideas sweep­ing the world. One was the pan-African­ism of the 19th and early 20th cen­turies, in­spired by US in­tel­lec­tu­als such as Martin De­lany and WEB Du Bois.

ANC founder Pix­ley Ka Isaka Seme’s 1906 es­say “The Re­gen­er­a­tion of Africa” helped shape African unity. Later lu­mi­nar­ies – Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Ny­erere of Kenya, Sékou Touré of Guinea and Zam­bia’s Ken­neth Kaunda – pro­moted pan-African ideals.

The 21st cen­tury brought a new fo­cus on the rights of Africa’s peo­ple. This led to the found­ing, in 2002, of a new or­gan­i­sa­tion: the African Union. The AU – a union of peo­ples, not just lead­ers – re­newed the com­mit­ment to democ­racy, gen­der equal­ity, good gov­er­nance and the rule of law.

Africa Month Fes­ti­val of Ideas

The Fes­ti­val of Ideas, an Africa Month col­lo­quia pro­gramme, is framed in the broader theme of de­coloni­sa­tion. For some, de­coloni­sa­tion means a to­tal and abrupt break from the past. An­other school of thought cau­tions against de­con­struct­ing colo­nial­ism.

The fes­ti­val recog­nises the po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment as one in which calls for de­coloni­sa­tion take prece­dence. De­coloni­sa­tion can­not be separated from the rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion agenda. It is with these un­der­pin­nings that the col­lo­quia pro­gramme has been de­vel­oped.

Cel­e­brat­ing Africa’s lib­er­a­tion her­itage

From 23 to 25 May, Arts and Cul­ture will also host a round­table with the pro­posed theme of “Roads To In­de­pen­dence: African Lib­er­a­tion Her­itage – To­wards an In­te­grated South­ern African Road Map”. The dis­cus­sion aims to rein­vig­o­rate Unesco and AU res­o­lu­tions recog­nis­ing lib­er­a­tion her­itage as hav­ing out­stand­ing univer­sal value.

The South African chap­ter – the Re­sis­tance and Lib­er­a­tion Her­itage project – is a na­tional mem­ory project aimed at com­mem­o­rat­ing, cel­e­brat­ing and ed­u­cat­ing, as well as pre­serv­ing and pro­vid­ing a durable tes­ta­ment to South African’s road to in­de­pen­dence.

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