18 May 2015
President Jacob Zuma will lead the country’s inaugural Africa Day celebrations on Sunday, 24 May 2015, in Mamelodi, Pretoria.
Africa Day is celebrated annually within the African continent to mark the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963 and the African Union in 2002 and the progress made by the continent since then to advance democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development.
South Africa rejoined the continent and the international community in 1994 following the dawn of freedom and democracy. Africa Day 2015 will therefore mark the celebration of 21 years since the country’s reintegration into the OAU/AU and the international community.
“Africa Day provides an opportunity for us to celebrate our African identity. Our country was isolated for decades from the rest of the continent due to the evil system of apartheid colonialism. We are now a full member of the African continent, and since 1994, our continent is correctly the primary focus of our foreign policy. We call upon all our people to mark AfricaDay2015 in various ways by celebrating South Africa’s unique diversity and the country’s rich culture and traditions,” said President Zuma.
The President said Africa Day2015 also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the contribution of the African continent to South Africa’s struggle for liberation.
“The OAU contributed immensely to our freedom. Many countries in the continent also provided refuge to many South Africans who went into exile and provided material, social, political and military support. Africa Day thus provides an opportunity to celebrate that African solidarity and to continue expressing it through the ongoing support for many in the continent who are caught up in conflict. It is a day for us to celebrate African solidarity, friendship, a common humanity and destiny,” said the President.
President Zuma said South Africa will also reaffirm support for the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063 and commit the country to playing its role within the AU to ensure the successful implementation of the vision and plan to build a better Africa.
South Africa contributes to peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-war reconstruction and development efforts in the continent. South Africa also plays a key role in the economic development of the continent through the growing private sector investment in many countries within the continent.
The celebrations take place a few weeks before the hosting of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting and the African Union Summit next month.
“We look forward to hosting the AU Summit next month in Sandton, Johannesburg as we did in 2002 when the AU was launched in Durban. It is truly an honour for South Africa to be afforded this opportunity. We also look forward to hosting the World Economic Forum on Africa on 3-5 June 2015. We urge our people to prepare to welcome to the special guests with the well-known South African warmth and hospitality which we always display when hosting international events of this magnitude in our beautiful country”, said the President.
The Africa Day celebration event is open to members of the public and will be held in at the University of Pretoria, Mamelodi campus starting at 9am.
Issued by: The Presidency