Africa Day

Observed annually on May 25th, Africa Day commemorates the foundation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963.

This holiday, previously known as African Liberation Day and African Freedom Day, is observed across the African continent—as well as around the world by the African diaspora.

Although the Organization of African Unity has since become the African Union as of July 2002, this holiday continues to be observed and celebrated on May 25th.

The History of Africa Day

On April 15, 1958, the First Congress of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana. This congress was organized by Ghanaian Prime Minister Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and included representatives from Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, and other African countries, except for South Africa.

The conference aimed to symbolize the determination of the peoples of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation and to highlight the progress of the liberation movements on the continent.

The conference called for the establishment of an African Freedom Day to mark each year’s progress and to provide the African people with a symbol of hope. On May 25, 1963, thirty African nations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie.

At this point in history, over 60% of the African continent had gained independence from imperial European states, and the conference established the Organization of African Unity. The organization’s purpose was to promote the decolonization of South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, and Southern Rhodesia.

It also pledged to support freedom fighters and to eliminate military access to colonial nations. African Liberation Day was created by the conference to commemorate the foundation of the Organization of African Unity. On July 9, 2002, the Organization of African Unity was reformed into the African Union.

Facts About Africa

Since we’re discussing the history and observance of Africa Day, let’s delve deeper into the subject and share some amazing facts about Africa. Anyone looking to learn about this continent or its various cultures will find the following facts interesting.

  • The most commonly spoken language in Africa is Arabic, with English as the second most common.
  • Located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • Victoria Falls can be heard from up to 40 kilometers away.
  • In East Africa, there is a beer brewed from bananas, sold in various countries under different names.
  • The author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” J.R.R. Tolkien, was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
  • Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa.
  • Nigeria’s film industry is known as Nollywood.
  • Four of the five fastest land animals in the world can be found in East Africa: the cheetah, the lion, the wildebeest, and the gazelle.
  • Africa is home to the African elephant, one of the largest land animals in the world.
  • Africa is also home to the giraffe, the tallest animal in the world.
  • Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet.
  • Over 25% of the world’s bird species can be found in Africa.
  • The Sahara Desert is larger than the entire United States and continues to grow every year.
  • There are over 3,000 recognized ethnic tribes in Africa.
  • Ethiopia and Liberia were the only two African countries not colonized by Europeans.
  • Approximately 90% of the world’s platinum metals are mined in Africa, which also produces 40% of the world’s gold supply.
  • In Morocco, a widow wears white for 40 days after her husband’s death, as white is considered the color of mourning.
  • The highest peak in Africa is Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Asia is the largest continent in the world, with Africa as the second largest.
  • The Nile River is the longest river in the world.
  • Africa is the largest producer of crude oil in the world.
  • There are over 1.4 billion people in Africa.
  • Africa covers a landmass of 11 million square miles.
  • The poorest country in Africa is Zimbabwe, while the richest is Equatorial Guinea.

Observing Africa Day

People around the world observe this holiday by enjoying concerts, museum galleries, and art exhibits that celebrate and honor the diverse cultures of the African continent. They also read books on the history of the freedom movement in Africa, gather with friends and family, and work towards securing freedom and autonomy for all Africans. The hashtag #AfricaDay can be used on social media accounts to spread the word about this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Gambia (Public holiday)Ghana (Public holiday)Guinea (Public holiday) Show all
When is it?
This year (2024)
Next year (2025)
Last year (2023)
May 25 Thursday