May 25th every year is set aside to celebrate what has become known as Africa Liberation Day. This day was founded during the first Conference of Independent African States which attracted African leaders and political activists from various African countries.
Government representatives from eight independent African states attended the conference which was the first Pan-African conference in the continent.
The purpose of the day, as identified by them, was to annually commemorate the liberation movement’s progress and to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.
Many years after the African continent gained independence though, the question many Africans ask is: Has Africa really been liberated? On some fronts, one can say yes, to some degree; like politically; but on many others the answer is resounding no.
For instance, more than half a century after this quasi-political-independence, most African countries still remain economically and sometimes, culturally dependent on the West. In many of these countries the people have not been able to free themselves from want and deprivation despite the vast mineral resources of their countries.
Fragmented into smaller nation-states, Africans stand divided and unable to achieve any meaningful development for their people. The inter-trade between and among African countries remains a fragment of what it severally trades with the rest of the world.
The hope for Africa, at the time of independence and perhaps even now, would have been coming together to form one powerful block which will present a United front to the world. This would have ensured that no one take them for granted.
The African diaspora in the West has – and continues to – make massive contributions in terms of finance and other economic benefits but still remain under harnessed and under utilized. The other area in which the diaspora could be of great service to the continent is in intellectual support.
Why don’t African countries come together a formulate a plan to reawaken the people of the continent, especially the young, to the monumental task of building a United Africa which will stand the chance of competing with the other continents in the world?
African Liberation Day has helped to raise political awareness in African communities across the world but a lot of soul searching remains and should be done.