African Union day is celebrated among African member states and Africans in the diaspora on May, 25, every year in commemoration of the foundation of formerly, Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on the above date in 1963 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia by the then leaders of independent African countries.
At the time, 32 African countries had gained independence but 30 heads of state out of the 32 independent states endorsed the union. By the year, 1994, 21 African countries had also attained colonial freedom and joined the union making a total of 53 member states.
Purposely, the organisation was to help Africans fight against exploitation and colonialism.
Over the past years, the African continent mark this day by reflecting on the oppressed rule from the colonial masters as well as celebrating the success and freedom the continent has been able to accomplish.
Usually, Africans express deep sense of elation through the African rich culture around the world and among African countries.
The name, OAU was then changed to African Union (AU) on July 09, 2002 in Durban, South Africa. However, the date of celebration was not altered and African countries including Mali, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe observe official public holiday as part of the celebration.
Under several developmental themes, conferences are held for various government officials on the continents to recount the ‘politico-socio-economic’ achievements since independence and new plans to help develop the continent.
Other programmes taken place on AU day include women and youth empowerment programs, health promotion, exhibition of African culture in diverse ways, among several social and economic development projects.
This year’s celebration is focused on the theme, “The Arts, Culture And Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”. A continental summit will be held online pertaining on the African traditions, arts and culture that allows the continent embrace unity in diverse ways through the African cultural renaissance.
Happy African Union Day!!