IN three days’ time, Zimbabwe joins the rest of the continent in celebrating Africa Day.
While for some Africa Day may appear like any other day on the calendar, nothing is further from the truth, 25 May is a special day for Africa.
On that day back in 1963, African leaders met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and formed the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor to the African Union.
African unity needs to be applauded because at one point, Africans were not pulling in one direction.
History tells us that some Africans were complicit in the Slave Trade as they watched their kith and kin being shipped abroad.
Marcus Garvey and William du Bois therefore strongly advocated for unity, thereby resulting in the unity we enjoy today. Harold MacMillan described this as ‘the winds of change sweeping over Africa.’’
But is Africa truly united?
This is crucial because unity and progress are Siamese twins.
As we celebrate Africa Day, it is worth noting that Africa’s founding fathers did not fold their hands and sit on their laurels once they had attained independence for their respective countries. They went on to fight for independence for the other African countries.
They could have easily looked the other way but in their infinite wisdom, African founding fathers were more concerned with the total emancipation of Africa, instead of the independence of their individual countries
The forerunner of the African Union, the OAU, set up the Liberation Committee, based in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to offer logistical and moral support for liberation movements throughout Africa.
The Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) — the two armed wings of ZANU and ZAPU — had logistical support from the organisation.
Elsewhere, FRELIMO, MPLA, SWAPO and Umkhonto weSizwe of Mozambique, Angola, Namibia and South Africa respectively, were bailed out by the OAU Liberation Committee in their hours of need.
Celebrating Africa Day, even though it is going to happen from the comfort of our homes, is an affirmation that our freedom cannot be taken for granted.
Many Africans were involved in liberating Africa and we are indebted to each other for the freedom we enjoy.
Among the AU’s objectives is the need to create a better life for Africans. With that in mind, every African should realise that political independence has come to most of Africa, save for South Western Sahara, where Morocco continues to play big brother to the nation.
While the rest of the continent has achieved political independence, the African people should now be economically empowered.
To achieve this there should be economic cooperation among African states.
Of course, some countries are endowed with more resources than other states, but that shouldn’t be a problem because we are one.
This is not the time for a big brother attitude to take root.
History has taught us that where there is unity, there is development. Ngugi waThiong’o, a renowned Pan Africanist writer, once said: “No man or woman can choose their biological nationality.’’
Therefore, we are African and our posterity cannot change their Africaness. We celebrate Africa Day conscious of the need to maintain our sovereignty and eager to make our lives better for our sake and our descendants.
There is no need to stoke tribalism or regionalism because Africa is one notwithstanding machinations by former colonial powers to create schisms in the body politic of African states for the perpetuation of economic imperialism.
If Germany and Japan came out of the Second World War bleeding, wounded and basically on their knees but rose to become some of the wealthiest countries in the world, what can stop Africa to reclaim its place on the global village as an economic powerhouse?
Africans are found in almost every country across the world.
They are doing wonders in those countries, fuelling development there while back home, industry is crying for their attention. Something needs to be done to lure these great African minds back home.
We have many languages in Africa and that has a telling effect on the bonds that should be there amongst us.
Cultural imperialism is a bomb thrown at us by the former colonial powers and celebrating Africa Day reminds Africans of the need to unite Africa culturally. Language is a vehicle of culture and the use of metropolitan languages such as English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Flemish ties Africans to the former colonisers. Much has been said about making Swahili the uniting language of Africa.
Perhaps a time will come when the language issue will be addressed for the of benefit of Africa.
While everyone agrees that corruption is the bane of Africa, it takes two to tango.
As we celebrate Africa Day, let us bury corruption and cronyism and build our motherland together.
God bless Africa!