Pretoria: Members of the public are invited to the country’s inaugural Africa Day celebrations which will be led by President Jacob Zuma on Sunday at the University of Pretoria, Mamelodi Campus.
The inaugural celebrations will occur a day before the African continent celebrates Africa Day on 25 May, a day which marks the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963, and the African Union in 2002.
The Presidency on Monday said Africa Day will also mark the progress made by the continent to advance democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development.
In 1994, South Africa re-joined the continent and the international community when it became a democratic state and gained freedom
“Africa Day 2015 will therefore mark the celebration of 21 years since the country’s reintegration into the OAU/AU and the international community,” said the Presidency.
President Zuma said Africa Day also provides an opportunity for South Africans to celebrate their African identity.
“Our country was isolated for decades from the rest of the continent due to the evil system of apartheid colonialism. We are now a full member of the African continent, and since 1994, our continent is correctly the primary focus of our foreign policy.
“We call upon all our people to mark Africa Day 2015 in various ways by celebrating South Africa’s unique diversity and the country’s rich culture and traditions,’’ said President Zuma.
The President said Africa Day 2015 also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the contribution of the African continent to South Africa’s struggle for liberation.
He said the OAU contributed immensely to South Africa freedom, and many countries in the continent also provided refuge to many South Africans who went into exile and provided material, social, political and military support.
“Africa Day thus provides an opportunity to celebrate that African solidarity and to continue expressing it through the ongoing support for many in the continent who are caught up in conflict. It is a day for us to celebrate African solidarity, friendship, a common humanity and destiny,” said the President.
President Zuma said South Africa will also reaffirm support for the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063 and commit the country to playing its role within the AU to ensure the successful implementation of the vision and plan to build a better Africa.
The Presidency said South Africa contributes to peace-making, peacekeeping and post-war reconstruction and development efforts in the continent.
It said South Africa also plays a key role in the economic development of the continent through the growing private sector investment in many countries within the continent.
The celebrations take place a few weeks before the hosting of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting and the African Union Summit in June.
“We look forward to hosting the AU Summit next month in Sandton, Johannesburg, as we did in 2002 when the AU was launched in Durban. It is truly an honour for South Africa to be afforded this opportunity.
“We also look forward to hosting the World Economic Forum on Africa on 3-5 June 2015. We urge our people to prepare to welcome special guests with the well-known South African warmth and hospitality which we always display when hosting international events of this magnitude in our beautiful country,” said the President.
SOURCE: South African Official News