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Top 10 Independence Day Videos From Africa


July 4th is "Independence Day" for the United States (but really, how can you gain independence on colonized land?). To "celebrate" (see previous parentheses) we decided to scrounge around for our favorite videos - old and new - from independence days across Africa.We found powerful speeches, regimes hightailing it back to the metropole, people dancing in the streets, and other great images from around the continent. Here they are in no particular order:

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1. Above are scenes from Freedom Square, Torit, Eastern Equatoria State in South Sudan on July 9, 2011. South Sudan is Africa's newest country.

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2. Cameroon's first president, Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo, is captured here on January 1, 1960. These images of Ahidjo are unusual because it is said that his successor, Paul Biya, has made efforts to erase archival footage and photos of Ahidjo.

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3. At Independence Day celebrations in Zimbabwe on April 17th 1980, Bob Marley performed his famous song "Zimbabwe" to a crowd of thousands.

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4. On June 30, 1960 the new democratically elected Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, delivered a fiery, unrehearsed speech to a room full of important folks including the King of Belgium. In the speech, he detailed the atrocities and injustice bestowed upon the Congolese people and praised them for enduring the Belgium regime. Lumumba was murdered by firing squad a few months later during a coup that the Belgium government has now admitted they supported. Listen to the full speech with English subtitles above, and read it here.

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5. On March 6, 1957 Kwame Nkrumah, the father of Pan-Africanism, celebrated independence day in Ghana as the country's first president. Delighted narration aside, this video highlights the interesting folks that showed up to the festivities including Richard Nixon and Muammar Gaddafi. A photo of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King was also taken at the event.

6. On December 9, 1961 the people of the newly decolonized "Tanganyika" (modern day Tanzania) waved farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh as he boarded an airplane leaving Dar es Salaam. The contrast between Julius Nyerere's western-style suit and the old regime's white wigs noted a clear sign of transition. The video itself cannot be embedded, but we still thought it significant enough to include. Watch the whole clip here.

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7. This footage from December 24, 1951 in Libya shows the country's first and only King, Idris I of Libya. Idris ruled until 1969 when he went away to Turkey to received medical treatment and Muammar Gaddafi led a coup d'etat that defeated his kingdom.

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8. We can't overlook this incredible and rare archival footage from Cape Verde's first independence celebration on July 5th and 6th 1975.

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9. April 27, 1994 is Freedom Day in South Africa. This date honors the first democratic elections in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was voted into power. Here is the Soweto Gospel Choir singing the "new" South Africa's national anthem "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika."

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10. Last but not least is this news report (it's unclear what network) on the candidates for the first democratic elections in Nigeria in 1960. The report highlights regional issues that are still relevant today. Find more archived news reports from the election here.

 

 

News Brief
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Warner Music)

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