Sep 26, 2008, 6:24 AM
The day was founded in 1958 when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah convened the First Conference of Independent States held in Accra, Ghana, and attended by eight independent African states.
The day seeks to mark, each year, 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.
This day has helped to raise political awareness in African communities across the world.It has also been a source of information about the struggles for liberation and development.
Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of the modern state of Ghana, was a leading advocate in the struggle for liberation and socialism in Africa during the 1950s and 1960s.
As he pointed out when he was president of Ghana, “We have embarked on the socialist path to progress. We want to see full employment, good housing and equal opportunity for education and cultural advancement for all people up to the highest level possible.”
Moreover, Nkrumah stressed that to achieve genuine liberation and socialism the workers, youth and farmers must be organized into a revolutionary party. Nkrumah identified the organized working class as the foundation for the building of a revolutionary party committed to building socialism and African unity.
Without doubt, the idea of liberating and unifying the continent politically, economically and socially by bringing it together culturally is one of the most important dreams which occupied the imagination of Africans for many generations.
However, in some parts of the continent, boundary disputes have served to bitterly divide very friendly nations, sometimes leading nations to war.
Africa’s natural wealth and capacities in other areas would make it the first or second power in the globe. Indeed, the raw materials and other resources on the continent should enable Africans to establish a giant federal economy capable of competing with the largest economies of the world.
Africa’s massive economic potential, when properly utilised, could make Africans a rich people, depending on their natural land resources, and without the need for external aid.
Yes, the Africa of today is not the Africa of the past. It is not the Dark Continent or the exploited continent as portrayed by others.
Africa today is shining and radiating with brightness. It is a solid and strong continent whose peoples are the mainstay of its power and wealth.
It is, however, disappointing to also note that while other countries in the continent are devoting all their energies and accelerating all their efforts for a bright and shining future through the umbrella of the great African Union, others seem to be heading towards the wrong direction, grappling with wars, killings and intimidation of their peoples.
It is our belief that unless we work together as one, getting a united Africa capable of creating its own destiny, and talking with one resounding voice that will make the whole world listen, unity will never become a reality.
Africa needs to widen its steps, and complete the construction of its union government project, for we are in an era when events develop at a fast pace.
We urge that, as Africans, we also stop killing each other and bring to an end all ongoing wars on the continent, for the sake of our peoples.
We should always have at the back of our minds that peace is not just simply the absence of war; peace is also synonymous with development.
Our continent has enormous untapped potentials, underscoring the need to promote values of solidarity to guarantee it a better future.
While we believe that the struggle for freedom for all African nations will come to a forefront one day, we also hope to see the AU begin to step up and assume more of a role in the lives of its citizen members by forming true democracies, instead of backing repressive regimes.
“Africans want a unified, socialist and democratic Africa now!”