25 May is Africa day. In most African it is an actual public holiday as it should be in all African countries. It marks or rather celebrates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity which lay the foundation of the now African Union.
Back in high school, the importance of Africa day were emphasized year after year without fail and honestly most of us did not appreciate it nearly enough. I do not think you can ever appreciate routine until you start freelancing in the enormous adult world where you can actually forget your birthday, later on Africa day.
I am however grateful for forgetting Africa day a few times because it has made me sit down with my African self and carefully prioritize events I ought to celebrate and their meaning. I did some reading and honestly the magnitude of the forming of the OAU is downplayed a bit, because you have to understand the continent then, not all countries were free from colonial rule in 1963. And yet brave wise men and women saw the need to unite Africa, the free to assist those facing their former struggles, that is Pan African ideology at its best.
So what to do on Africa Day? I would advise you do the most African thing you can do, be yourself and celebrate this beautiful continent, that is if you aren’t like me who does it a little by the day. Better yet, some take this as an opportunity to highlight our current problems, which is commendable.
This year’s Africa Day theme is ‘harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth’. It may sound like a mouthful or political jargon but if you break it down further it is a solution to many of the problems my beautiful continent is facing. Fact is human resource is one of the best assets Africa has, propaganda usually paints it as over population, but a optimistic Demographer in the making as myself would say it is an untapped resource. If the youth are invested in primarily by educating them, providing jobs or the creative space to allow them to take Africa to the next level, whilst making the most of the bulge the youthful population might create.
Happy Africa day, whether you are dancing the day away, or reading up on your fellow brothers and sisters across the continent( I am reading Reality Bites by G.Esplund, J.Strudsholm, E. Miller) or taking the opportunity to highlight ways to take Africa ahead, have fun and thank you for recognizing the importance of this day.