Jun 15, 2008

'African Liberation Day' turns 50

Celebrating one century towards the independence of the motherland

By Reginald James

Africa was raped and brutalized by the colonial powers of Europe for hundreds of years. Millions of her children were stolen and subjected to dehumanizing conditions across the world.
There was naturally always resistance, on the continent and abroad, it was not until the 20th century that the Pan-African family began to reconnect.
As the creator of the Red, Black, and Green flag, the rise of Pan Africanism is often attributed to Marcus Garvey, who coined the phrase “Africa for the Africans.” Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association was the largest Pan African movement in the history of the world. At its peak in the 1920s, it boasted over four million members.
W.E.B. Du Bois, often labeled the “Father of Pan–Africanism,” organized the first Pan African Congress in 1919.He presided over other congresses, three were held in the 1920s in London, Paris, and New York, and the final Pan–African Congress in 1945 in Manchester, England.
A co-organizer of the Manchester Pan African Congress was Kwame Nkrumah.
Nkrumah, after bringing together the Conventions People’s Party for African self-government in the Gold Coast called for “Positive Action” in 1950 against British colonial rule. Soon after, Nkrumah was elected premier and became the first president of Ghana.
On April 15, 1958, in Accra, Ghana, African leaders and activist gathered at the first Conference
of Independent African States. This was the first Pan-African Conference that was ever held on African soil.
The conference also gave sharp clarity and definition to Pan-Africanism, “the total liberation and unification of African under scientific socialism,” according to thetalkingdrum.com.
The conference also called for the founding of African Freedom Day, to “mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”
Five years later on May 25, 1963 leaders of 32 independent Africa states met to form the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU). More than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence from colonial rule. At the meeting, African Freedom Day was changed from April 25 to May 25th and African Freedom Day was declared African Liberation Day (ALD).
Though nations of Africa are independent, they are still subject to neo-colonial manipulation and economic exploitation; while Africa is minerally rich, its resources are not controlled by its people, nor do they benefit the masses of people.
The African Union (AU) must return to its roots, as Nkrumah said, “Africa must unite.”
We celebrate the 50 years of ALD– Africa must be free.

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