Today 25 May, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) joins the rest of the continent and the world in celebrating Africa Day. Africa Day is commemorated every year to remember 25th May 1963. On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The day aims to celebrate the African unity. It is a significant day on the African calendar, marked by commemorative events in many African countries and the diaspora. The 25th May 2018 is particularly special, as it marks the 55th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and its successor, the African Union (AU).
Africa’s founding fathers deserve great commendation for leading the rest of the world in the fight against colonialism by among others establishing the OAU. Their initiative and determination gave impetus to the establishment of majority rule in states throughout the African continent, freeing millions of people from racial oppression, economic exploitation and political exclusion and brought hope to many.
In Southern Africa, African liberation is aptly captured in SADC’s vision of a “Common future within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice and peace and security for the people of Southern Africa”. The region has historically played a significant role in the realization of the vision of African Unity and the liberation struggle. This is evidenced by its hosting of the OAU Liberation Committee, which mobilized support and solidarity for the cause of liberating African States from both within and outside the continent.
In this regard, SADC calls upon all Africans to spare no effort in immortalizing the memory of the Founders of our post-independence states, who sacrificed the economic freedoms of their countries to ensure that the rest of the region achieved political independence by more than ever, ensuring that the foundation pillars of their struggle are sustained and we are able to deliver politically, and economically, beyond what was initially expected for posterity and ensure that our region remains a reference point for regional cooperation, integration and prosperity. To celebrate our liberation struggle, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is in the process of developing a mechanism to Honour the Founders of SADC. Among others, SADC has publishedthe history of the liberation struggles of Southern Africa in the ten volume Hashim Mbita publication, which is available to members, and will be available to the public in the near future.
As one of the building blocks of the region, the SADC remains committed to the realization of the AU’s Agenda 2063, and continues to work towards eradicating poverty, disease and conflict on the continent guided by its own Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ (SIPO). I therefore wish to reiterate the call to all Africans to continue nurturing and strengthening Democracy and the attainment of self-sustainable peace in their countries and ultimately on the continent as a whole.
Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax
SADC Executive Secretary