By Linda Pona
Sixty years ago, leaders from 32 free African countries signed a charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hoping to unite African countries. This is when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), later known as the African Union (AU) was established with 55 participating states. This was with the hope of uniting African countries, giving them freedom and allowing them to control their destiny.
Sixty years later, we continue celebrating this hope for the continent of Africa with Africa Day. This year’s theme, “Our Africa, Our Future”, encapsulates the hopes for African countries future hopes and dreams.
Although Africa, as a continent, and South Africa, as a country, have come a long way in the past few decades, there are still issues which need to be tackled. These issues include poverty, inequality, unemployment, conflicts, corruption, and criminality. Although the Liberation of African countries from colonialism and apartheid for South Africa brought about freedom, there is still a lot to be done in the African continent to take it forward because while it is rich in minerals, it remains poor socially, politically and economically.
This year’s theme, “Deepening the African Union’s vision of African unity, prosperity, and development”, looks at Africa’s vision for 2063, where we work together to become a powerhouse of peace and prosperity, which can be done by working together. Although seemingly an impossible task, I believe it can be achieved by working together. Bringing this year’s theme closer to home means that we first need to focus on this problem-riddled town of ours and fix them so that we can be prosperous.
To achieve this success, we have primarily relied on our leaders, who have repeatedly failed us, especially given all the issues we face. Though seemingly in an impossible situation, there is still hope because it is the people who drive the economy, and it is the people who can liberate themselves. As in the famous words of Bob Marley, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds”. So as we celebrate this day that was initiated sixty years ago, let us work towards a future free from poverty and corruption, where the haves have more (by corrupt means), and the have-nots have even less.