Commemoration Of Boganda

Boganda Day is a holiday observed annually in the Central African Republic on the 29th of March. This holiday honors the country’s first prime minister, Barthélemy Boganda, on the anniversary of his death on March 29th, 1959.

On this day, the general population is given the day off to spend time with their families or to attend special commemorative events. Banks, schools, and most businesses are also closed on this day. Although the name of this holiday is officially Barthélemy Boganda Day, few people use that moniker and instead simply call it Boganda Day.

Regardless of what it’s called, it’s a day off for most people and a time to remember the contributions of the founding father of the country and a person who is regarded as a hero.

The History of Boganda Day

Barthélemy Boganda was born to a family of farmers but was adopted and educated by Roman Catholic missionaries following the death of both of his parents. In 1938, he became a Roman Catholic priest and, after WWII, entered into a life of politics. He would go on to become the first Oubanguian to be elected to the National Assembly of France in 1946 and used his position to speak out against colonial abuses and racism.

He founded the Social Evolution of Black Africa (MESAN) in 1949—a movement that was popular among villagers. After he married Michelle Jourdain, he would lose his priesthood but continued to work for the fundamental rights of blacks in the territory.

After MESAN won local elections, he gained influence in the Oubangui-Chari’s government. On the 1st of December, Boganda declared the establishment of the Central African Republic for Oubangui-Chari. He became the first premier, drafted administrative reforms, and undertook other tasks in the government.

On the 29th of March in 1959, Boganda was killed in a plane crash. Although a full report on the incident was never officially published, a preliminary examination of the wreckage did reveal trace explosives, which raises the possibility that he may have been assassinated. The Central African Republic would attain formal independence from France in 1960, and March 29th was eventually turned into Boganda Day in commemoration of this leader’s contribution to the country.

Observing Boganda Day

Because this is a public holiday, it’s also a day off for the general population. People all over the country spend time with friends and family members or attend special commemorative events dedicated to Barthélemy Boganda.

It’s also a day when banks, schools, and many businesses are closed. Additionally, it’s a day when people spread the word about this month using the hashtag #BogandaDay on social media.

Where is it celebrated?
Central African Republic (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
March 29 Friday
Next year (2025)
March 29 Saturday
Last year (2023)
March 29 Wednesday