News

Here’s What You Need to Know About Africa Day 2016

On May 25 countries throughout Africa and its diaspora celebrate the establishing of the Organisation of African Unity, predecessor to the current African Union, in Addis Ababa in 1963.

Wednesday commemorates the 53rd Africa Day, celebrated throughout the continent and its diaspora. It’s also a national holiday in six countries: Ghana, Mali, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.


This year’s theme is “Building a Better Africa and a Better World” with special focus on human rights and an emphasis on women’s rights—in line with the African Union's 2063 Agenda. These are timely topics considering the whereabouts of many of the Chibok schoolgirls, who were captured by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram two years ago, remain unknown. And Boko Haram, al-Shabab and al-Qaeda’s presence on the continent have provoked the displacement of 2.6 million people among Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad and countless killings of innocents.

However the day—which is marked by a slew of events including a star-studded Africa Day concert with artists Songhoy Blues, Waje, Nakhane Toure and Oliver Mtukudzi and others performing hosted in Johannesburg on May 28—offers an opportunity to reflect, advance cooperation among African nations and celebrate arts and culture as well as the forming of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) May 1963—predecessor of the African Union.

It was first observed by 17 countries that had gained their independence from European colonizers as African Liberation Day, and evolved into Africa Day when 32 nations, in show of solidarity, formed the OAU May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where it is still technically headquartered today.

Following its founding, 21 more countries joined, and in 2002, the OAU became the African Union that we know today.

And 92-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addressed a crowd of 50,000 supporters who honored him on Africa Day in capital city Harare, where he ruled out the possibility that he’ll step down from his office, and condemned opponents in the ruling Zanu-PF party for their plots to oust him from leadership. Mugabe also made it explicitly clear to the crowd that he belongs to the people, saying,  “I am not a Yankee. I am not a Briton...I belong to Zimbabwe,” reports the BBC.

 

All Africa made a quiz so you can prove you know that Africa is not a country.

Africans and those of African descent also shared their sentiments and photos on social media:

[facebook https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Flungile.mpetsheni%2Fposts%2F1166556710050638&width=500 expand=1]

Interview

Amadou & Mariam Forever

We talk to the legendary Malian duo about their rich past, songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities.

Amadou & Mariam don't require an introduction.

The couple has been making Afro-blues music for over 35 years, drawing inspiration from their home of Mali, for over 35 years.

Their 1999 albumSou Ni Tilé sold 100,000 copies. In 2005, their album Dimanche à Bamako won the French Victoire de la Musique prize for Best World Music Album of the year and the BBC Radio 3 Award for Africa. It also went platinum in France after selling over 300,000 copies. The duo have performed with U2, Coldplay, Blur and many others.

We caught up with them below for a conversation about their rich past, their songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities, ahead of the duo's performance at the upcoming London Jazz Festival 2021.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The New Fela Kuti Box Set is Curated by Femi Kuti & Chris Martin

And they said the perfect holiday gift doesn't exist...