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ANC Nelson Mandela Bay pays tribute to Africa, her people and leaders

MAY 25, 2017
ANC Nelson Mandela Bay pays tribute to Africa, her people and leaders

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Nelson Mandela Bay Region, on Thursday, in observance of Africa Day, paid tribute to the people and leaders of Africa "as they forge ahead with the struggle for the total liberation of the continent`s people".

The year 2017, also marks 16 years since the formation of the African Union (AU).

"This year`s celebrations of Africa Day come at a time when the continent remains engaged in the effort towards the realization of the long-standing dream of a united, peaceful, democratic and prosperous continent," said Gift Ngqondi
ANC Regional Head -Communications Unit.

"The commemoration of Africa Day also comes at a time when Ghana celebrates sixty years of independence. On 6 March 1957 Ghana became the first country in Africa, south of the Sahara, to gain independence from colonial rule. As envisioned by Ghana`s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the country went on to serve as a guiding light of African independence and solidarity.

"Ghana`s attainment of independence and the subsequent ideological support it extended to other colonized countries on the continent, culminated in the liberation of many of these countries from colonial rule."

He said that on 25 May 1963, the leaders of Africa made history and gave significant impetus to the continent`s collective struggle for independence by establishing the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

"Nearly four decades followed in which African states stood united, while making efforts to give depth and meaning to their political independence and striving for the socio-economic development of their people," described Ngqondi.

"When the OAU was formed in 1963 its main purpose was to support not only unity in development and integration but also to build solidarity for the liberation of the continent, particularly those counties that were still colonized and oppressed.

"As South Africa, we received enormous support from the member states of the OAU in the fight against apartheid. As we celebrate this day, we are mindful of the pain and price some of these countries have paid for our liberation. 

"The ANC wishes the countries of the continent well as they reflect on the value of what has been achieved since 1963. The ANC believes that this day needs to be a point of reflection not only in terms of our achievements but also to recommit ourselves to change the fortunes of the peoples of the continent for better. We salute the founding fathers of the African unity movement that has been pivotal in the establishment of the regional cooperation structures."

Ngqondi added that the year 2002 saw the launch of the African Union (AU), an organization that sought to continue with the emancipation of Africans as envisaged by the founders of the OAU, while translating the gains of independence into economic progress. 

"The AU should further develop its capacity to guide our continent during this era of globalization and enhance its capacity to serve as an instrument for unity, stability and progress within Africa.

"The African Union has given birth to the Pan African Parliament (PAP), an historic development in the effort to bring together the representatives of all Africans. The creation of the PAP is the manifestation of the will of the African people to foster greater unity and economic integration on the continent and to mobilize its human and natural resources to meet the challenges of globalization and bettering the lives of its people," he described.

"In welcoming the honor by the continent of hosting the PAP, President Thabo Mbeki called it 'The African Parliament of Liberators', a fitting description as it has created a new space for all Africans to forge a collective identity and to act together in our interest within and between our countries, as well as in the many important global engagements with other regions and the rest of the world.

"The ANC remains committed to working together with the people of Africa in order to achieve the AU fifty-year vision called Agenda 2063. This is the African vision of building effective institutions, enhancing accountability, strengthening solidarity and integration, promoting gender equality, and promoting peace and security. In addition, Agenda 2063 talks about the reform of institutions of global governance, which includes among others the United Nations (UN), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."

He said that while the continent can pride itself with having made great strides towards the resolution of conflict in some countries long besieged by conflict and instability, many challenges remain.

"We cannot celebrate until all our fellow brothers and sisters on the continent achieve lasting stability and freedom. People who do not know where they came from would not know where they are going and any road would lead them there. Such a people would be like a rudderless ship. Africa Day celebrations cannot be just an event.

"It must be an opportunity to remind our people especially the youth and children, the history and revolutionary morality which informed the Pan African struggles which produced the freedom that we enjoy today," he further said.

"Africa Day celebrations must serve to remind us the challenges that we still face in our quest to deepen and to entrench democracy, the human and people’s right culture on the continent and the impediments to the right to development of African people and nations. 

"We must remember that we have not yet achieved a total liberation of the African continent because the people of the Sahwari still live under colonial rule. 

"We need to use this opportunity to remind ourselves that the Sahwari people and the people of the newly formed Southern Sudan need moral and material support to realize their right to self-determination, human and people’s rights. South Africans should consider establishing solidarity groups to support the Sahwarian and Southern Sudanese people."

Ngqondi also said that the people of the Saharawi Republic remain engaged in a struggle for independence.

"The ANC and other progressive movements in South Africa have pledged to act in solidarity with the people of the Saharawi Republic in their quest for self-determination.

"The ANC therefore welcomes the activities in support of the Saharawi people currently taking place in South Africa, and urges all South Africans to lend their support to this struggle.

"As South Africans, it is an opportunity to reflect on the road we have traveled since 1994 to create a non-racial, non-sexist, united democratic and prosperous society in which the value of every citizen is measured by our common humanity. It is the time to reflect on our South African and African identity and the revolutionary values that we must forge to achieve social cohesion and nation building," he explained.

"Knowledge of the history of Pan African struggles and the revolutionary morality is a prerequisite for understanding our South African and African identity and for achieving social cohesion and nation building. 

"On this memorable day, 54 years since the inception of our first continental organization, the OAU, the ANC calls on all Africans to rise as one and march together for lasting peace, integration and development on our continent. Acting in unison, we can build a better Africa and World. We are Africa! We are One!"