50 years of Africa Liberation Day, 25th May: How far is Africa from unity?

MAY 25TH PUBLIC CELEBRATIONS ORGANIZED BY:
The Forum for African Affairs, Fahamu, All African Peoples Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), Niaje?YOUTH, One African Initiative and the Centre for Pan-African Initiative
50 years of Africa Liberation Day: How far is Africa from unity?
WHEN: Sunday, 25th May 2008 TIME: 1.00 – 7.00 pm
VENUE: Lenana Room, KICC, Nairobi

12.45-2.00 Film Screenings (Mau Mau, 500yrs and Fidel Castro)
2.00 – 2.10 Opening Songs: Spirit of Africa by Sara Mitaru
Poem by Tempa Tella & Allo Allo by Agwambo Odera
2.10 – 2.20 Opening Remarks:
2.25– 2.55 Speaker: Prof John Trimble, AAPRP, Rwanda
Speaker: Godwin Murunga, Lecturer of History, Kenyatta University
2.55 – 3.05 Poetry by Githuku/ Biko/ Open mic
3.05 – 3.35 Speaker: Wahu Kaara, Executive Director, KENDREN
Speaker: Awino Okech, ACORD
3.35 – 3.45 Poetry by Grandmaster Masese
3.45 – 4.30 Plenary Session – All
4.30 – 4.50 Responses from speakers

4.50 – 5.00 Closing Remarks by Hilary Mulalia, One Africa Initiative
Moderators: Hakima Abbas (AU Monitor, Fahamu) & Agwambo Odera (niaje?YOUTH)

10 MIN BREAK FOR REFRESHMENTS THEN ENTERTAINMENT

5.10 – 5.40 Sara Mitaru and the Villagers
5.40 – 5:50 Poetry by Tempa Tella, Philo Ikonya and the Villagers
5.50 – 6.20 Performance by Islandos & Ukoo Flani
6.20 – 6.50 Performance by the Warriors
6.50 – 7.10 Performance by Michelle and Senta lain
MC – Agwambo Odera & Hakima Abbas

Context

May 25th 2008 marks 50 years of the celebration of Africa Liberation Day and 48 years of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU). The African Liberation Day emerged out of the conscious struggle of African people against oppression and is celebrated every year to mark the onward process of the liberation movement and to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. 50 years since the inception of the African Union, how far has Africa come and how far are we from achieving political and economic integration? What are the benefits of African unity? What have been the major highlights and the low points for Africa since 1958? What are the new frontiers for Africa. Join this exciting discussion as we recapture one of Africa’s finest moments and draw lessons for Africa today and the future.

For further information contact: Dolphine Ndeda – Email: panafrica1@oxfam.org.uk. Tel: 254 20 2820159

Background

On April 15, 1958, in the city of Accra, Ghana, African leaders and political activists gathered at the first Conference of Independent African States. This conference was attended by representatives of the governments of Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, The United Arab Republic (which was the federation of Egypt and Syria) and representatives of the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon. This conference was significant in that it represented the first Pan-African Conference held on African soil.

The Conference called for the founding of African Freedom Day, a day to “mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.” Between 1958 and 1963 the nation/class struggle intensified in Africa and the world. Seventeen countries in Africa won their independence and 1960 was proclaimed the Year of Africa. Further advances were also made with the defeat of U.S. imperialism in Asia and the Caribbean.

On the 25th of May 1963, the First Conference of Independent African States was held in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Thirty-two leaders of independent African states attended this meeting and it is at this historic meeting that the leaders founded the Organization of African Unity (OAU). They renamed Africa Freedom Day “African Day” and changed its date to May 25th. By then more than two thirds of the continent had achieved independence from colonial rule.

African Liberation Day (ALD) emerged out of the conscious struggle of African People against oppression. It marks the onward progress of the liberation movement in Africa, and symbolizes the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation”. This important, historic event has been observed and institutionalized in various places worldwide, every year since its inception.

Though ALD began on the continent of Africa, people of African descent and their allies celebrate ALD throughout the world. It has become an expression of African peoples’ self-determination, and solidarity with other progressive struggles. This year is the 50th anniversary of ALD and the 45th anniversary of AD.

“The total liberation and unification of Africa under an All-African Socialist Government must be the primary objective of all Black revolutionaries throughout the world. It is an objective which, when achieved, will bring about the fulfilment of the aspirations of Africans and people of African descent everywhere.”

Kwame Nkrumah.

He Had A Dream, An African Dream

It all started as a vision of one man,
A the dream of one son,
A son of Ghana, a Nkrumah who sang a song
whose words were written with the blood of our brothers sailed off
to plantations as slaves to white masters.
A song whose rhythm and tune was hummed
by the cries of our people
Feet shuffling, hands trembling, mouths begging

We don’t know them!
We don’t know the freedom fighters

The rhythm of whips cracking on their backs
The sound of gunshots reigning in the dull yet sunny days,
Dark, yet moonlit nights.
The sounds had become a dirge to their ears
Maafa, Maafa

his was a song whose commas and full stops,
verses and chorus was the stamping of weary dusty feet
forcibly led into crammed concentration and detention camps
to die of hunger, thirst,
Informers, turncoats or home guards

His dream’s song like a bush fire, spread across the land,
Across the great Nile, Lake Tanganyika, the Zambezi and Chania
Kingston, Harlem, the Caribbean.
The strained tunes of this sweet song became a spell
Its spirit haunting Edward Wilmot
W.E.Dubois, Muamar Ghadafi

His majesty Emperor Haille sellasie,
Marcus Garvey,Julius Nyerere
Malcolm X, Fela Kuti,
The fathers of Pan-Africanism.

This was a song of pain
The Pain of being an African
A black man, a native

The pain of being un civilized
uneducated, uncultured

The pain of being colonized by a fellow human being
whose religion, traditions and language
was no more superior than our own.
Maafa, maafa

They sang a song of strength
A song of unity
A song of one enemy
A song of liberation
Africa’s Liberation

Like a chain, their weakness,
Would be their greatest strength
Being black, being African

This song gave them a reason to unite, to fight
To think as one country, one man, one mind

This song was the cry of
A unified Africa
United States of Africa
Umoja Africa

I too sing that song today

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N. W.
Feb 08,2008

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