When the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was created in May of 1963, the founding delegates proclaimed May 25, 1963 African Liberation Day (ALD), as the successor commemoration day to Africa Freedom Day. Since then African peoples have observed ALD all over the world. It has become a symbolic day for Africans and peoples of African descent to reevaluate and reaffirm their commitment to the cause of liberating Africa from all forms of domination and oppression.
With the continent being riddled by various problems; from the recent terrorist activities perpetuated by groups like Boko Haram and also the contentious issue of the ‘back way’ migration to Europe, it becomes necessary to have a day as this and reflect and come up with pragmatic solutions. We usually find that most ALD celebrations are either filled with hot polemics on how the West has failed her former colonies or it’s a long winding session of recounting ideologies that have done little to make the African dream of development a reality.
So it’s about bringing our academics and scholars to the table and engaging them to come up with constructive solutions to our many ills. The process of decolonisation is more intellectual than it is physical now. With the subtle form of colonialism – aptly named by the theorists of decolonisation as neo-colonialism – still choking our political and economic system, it becomes necessary to destroy and deconstruct the myth through proper scholarly analyses.
The unification of the African continent into one federal state has always been a hotly contested idea since it first became articulated. The goals which defined the OAU from its inception were to free Africa from domination and also that of uniting Africa. The founding fathers of the OAU, primary among them the first president of independent Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, advocated a strong ideological unification of Africa under socialism. They had thought it would be an easy ride to that great and fabulous dream of a continental government. But the rising tide of differences, engendered by the colonialists, left the once grandiose dream into the womb of the many pipe dreams by the genuine leaders of Africa.
At the core of the celebration of the ALD is a remembrance of those landmarks in our history and seeing in what ways can we rejuvenate those dreams and bring them to reality. Of course it remains a bone of contention as to whether we can unite this very diverse continent. However, the most important thing would be to unite collectively in our fight against aggression of all forms, whether it is ideological or physical.
As we celebrate this day let us not forget to emphasise the need to promote the African personality, who shall be the archetypal man of liberation and personification of the progressive values of our land. We must revive that African person who represents the highest ideals and is an outcome of the mechanics of our traditions. It all boils down to liberating the mind from all forms of mental colonialism and also inculcating within it the virtues of tolerance and the democratic ideals.]]>