Observed annually on May 25th, Africa day is the commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963.
This is a holiday that was previously known as African Liberation Day and African Freedom Day and is observed all across the African continent—as well as around the world by the African diaspora.
Although the Organization of African Union has since become the African Union as of July 2002, this holiday continues to be observed and celebrated on the 25th of May.
The History Of Africa Day
On April 15, 1958, the First Congress of Independent Africa States was held in Accra, Ghana. This congress was organized by Ghana Prime Minister Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and was composed of representatives, from Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morroco, and other countries of Africa except for South Africa.
The conference was designed to symbolize the determination of the peoples of Africa to free themselves from foreign influence and exploitation, as well as to outline the progress of the liberation movements that had taken hold on the African continent.
This conference asked for an African Freedom Day to be founded so that each year onward progress can be denoted and to give the African people a symbol of hope. On May 25, 1963, thirty African nations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was hosted by Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie.
At this time in history, over 60% of the African continent had gained its independence from imperial European states, and the conference established the Organization of African Unity. The purpose of this organization was to encourage the decolonization of South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, and South Rhodesia.
It also pledged to support the work of freedom fighters and to remove 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 changed into the African Union.
Facts About Africa
Since we’re talking about the history and observance of Africa Day, we thought that we’d dive deeper into the subject and talk about some of the amazing facts we’ve uncovered about Africa. Anyone looking to know about this continent or its various cultures will want to check out the following factoids that we’ve pulled together.
- The language most commonly spoke in Africa is Arabic. English is the second language commonly spoken.
- Located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders Of The World.
- Victoria Falls can be heard up to 40 kilometers away.
- In East Africa, there’s a beer that’s brewed from bananas and is 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 second-largest producer of cocoa in the entire world.
- Nigeria’s movie industry is known as Nollywood.
- Four of the five fastest land animals in the world can be found in East Africa. These animals are the cheetah, the lion, the wildebeest, and the gazelle.
- Africa is home to the African elephant—one of the largest land animals in the entire world.
- Africa is also home to the giraffe, one of the tallest animals in the world.
- Ethiopia is the only country in Africa to have its own alphabet.
- Over 25% of the world’s bird species can be found in Africa.
- The Sahara Desert is larger than the entire U.S and it continues to grow every year.
- In Africa, there are over 3,000 recognized ethnic tribes.
- Ethiopia and Liberia were the only two countries in Africa that weren’t colonized by Europeans.
- Approximately 90% of platinum metals are mined in Africa. Africa also mines 40% of the world’s gold supply.
- In Morocco, a widow will wear white for 40-days after he husband passes away. This is because white is considered to be the color of mourning.
- The highest African peak is Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Asia is the largest continent in the world, but Africa is the second largest.
- The Nile River is the longest river in the world.
- Africa is the biggest producer of crude oil in the entire world.
- There are over 1.4 billion people in Africa.
- Africa has a landmass of 11 million square miles.
- The poorest country in Africa is Zimbabwe. The richest country is Equatorial Guinea.
Observing Africa Day
People all over the world observe this holiday by enjoying concerts, museum galleries, and art exhibits that celebrate and honor the different cultures of the African continent. People also read books on the history of the freedom movement in Africa, get together 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.