Addis Ababa, 28 May 2013 (ECA) - Fifty years ago, the representatives of thirty-two independent African countries and from liberation movements of countries still under the yoke of colonialism met in Addis Ababa to bring the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into being. 1963 is recognized as a watershed year for all Africans on the continent and for peoples of African descent.
To commemorate this milestone, this week, the statements contained in Celebrating Success: Africa’s voice over 50 years, have been compiled to shed light on the challenges faced by the Continent between 1963 and 2013. The preface by Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa and Madame Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, notes that the publication “reflects the sense of optimism and enthusiasm that in the year that we celebrate our 50th anniversary, the continent of hope and opportunity is on the move.”
Recently liberated from the shackles of colonialism, the Founders, meeting in the Ethiopian capital in 1963, saw the unity of the African continent as the only means of ridding the continent of the last vestiges of slavery, colonialism and apartheid and restoring Africa’s dignity and pride, after centuries under domination. In the words of the great Kwame Nkrumah – ‘Africa must Unite or Perish’. Thus in the face of those who denied the Continent ownership of its own destiny, African peoples proclaimed their desire to participate on an equal footing with other nations, in the progress of humanity - a human community from which they had long been excluded.
The two leaders state that in a range of areas critical to Africa’s development, Africa has taken control of its destiny and agreed on what to do. The statements provide pointers towards the future, and what is needed to build a prosperous and peaceful future together.
Fifty years later, the Jubilee book pays tribute to the founders of the generations of 1963, to the Pan Africanists that came before them and to those who build the Organisation of African Unity and the African Union to become the premier continental organisation.
The two heads state: “The Jubilee book takes forward the continuity of our continental narrative on Pan Africanism and African Renaissance, which is the theme of this year's AU Summit, bringing together the speeches from the generations of leaders of 1963 and statements from the 2013 generations of African leaders. These statements – past and present - are a critical contribution to our reflection on Africa’s past, current state and future.”