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Africa Day

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Africa Day
Observed byMember states of the African Union
TypeInternational; cultural and historical
SignificanceAnniversary of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity
Date25 May
Next time25 May 2025 (2025-05-25)
Related toAfrican Freedom Day and African Liberation Day

Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity on May 25, 1963.[1] It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent as well as around the world. The organization was replaced by the African Union on July 9, 2002, but the holiday continues to be celebrated on 25 May.


The First Congress of Independent African States was held in Accra, Ghana on 15 April 1958. It was convened by the Prime Minister of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and comprised representatives from Egypt (then a constituent part of the United Arab Republic), Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon, and the host country, Ghana.. The Union of South Africa was not invited. The conference showcased progress of liberation movements on the African continent in addition to symbolizing the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. Although the Pan-African Congress had been working towards similar goals since its foundation in 1900, this was the first time such a meeting had taken place on African soil.[2]

The conference called for the founding of an African Freedom Day, a 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."[3]

The conference was notable in that it laid the basis for the subsequent meetings of African heads of state and government during the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Group era, until the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.[4]


Five years later, on 25 May 1963, representatives of thirty African nations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie. By then more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence, mostly from imperial European states. At this meeting, the Organization of African Unity was founded, with the initial aim to encourage the decolonization of Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. The organization pledged to support the work conducted by freedom fighters, and remove military access to colonial nations. A charter was set out which sought to improve the living standards across member states. Selassie exclaimed, "May this convention of union last 1,000 years."[5]

The charter was signed by all attendees on 26 May, with the exception of Morocco.[a] At that meeting, Africa Freedom Day was renamed Africa Liberation Day.[3] In 2002, the OAU was replaced by the African Union. However, the renamed celebration of Africa Day continues to be celebrated on 25 May in respect to the formation of the OAU.[6]

25 may[edit]

By the way, the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was held on May 25, the day of Tito's birthday celebration, according to the agreement of Haile Selassie and SFRY President Josip Broz Tito. So, in fact, the celebration of Africa Day is at the same time the celebration of Tito's birthday.

Contemporary celebrations[edit]

Africa Day continues to be celebrated both in Africa and around the world, mostly on 25 May (although in some cases these periods of celebrations can be stretched out over a period of days or weeks).[7][8] Themes are set for each year's Africa Day, with 2015's being the "Year of Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063". At an event in New York City in 2015, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, delivered a message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which he said, "Let us... intensify our efforts to provide Africa's women with better access to education, work and health care and, by doing so, accelerate Africa's transformation".[9] The slogan of the 2023 Africa Day celebration was "Our Africa Our Future".[10] The theme of 2024 Africa Day celebration is "Education Fit for the 21st Century".[11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Morocco's delegation was present in an observatory capacity only, due to the attendance of Mauritania and the ongoing border dispute with that nation.[5]


  1. ^ Tutu, Bongiwe (25 May 2017). "10 Things to Know About Africa Day". Africa.com. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  2. ^ "The History of Africa Liberation Day"; TheTalkingDrum.com; accessed May 2017
  3. ^ a b "African Liberation Day: A Celebration of Resistance". Pambazuka News. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  4. ^ jonas (24 May 2012). "The History of Africa Day – 25 May". South African History Online. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "1963: African States Unite Against White Rule". BBC On This Day. 25 May 1963. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. ^ Allison, Simon (26 May 2015). "Africa Day: Is the African Union worth celebrating?". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Africa Day 2021 | South African Government". www.gov.za. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Kakadu for Africa Day celebrations". The Nation. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Africa Day 2015 Celebrated in New York". United Peace Federation. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Commemoration of Africa Day, May 25, 2023", African Union: https://au.int/en/announcements/20230509/commemoration-africa-day-may-25-2023
  11. ^ "Celebrating Africa Day with the Theme: Education Fit for the 21st Century". African Union. Retrieved 25 May 2024.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allardt, Helmut ; European Economic Community (1959). The tasks and the aims of the European Economic Community in Africa : lecture given on the occasion of Africa Day at the German Industries Fair, Hanover, 30 April 1959. Brussels : Publications Dept. of the European Communities. OCLC 883719446.
  • Mugabe, Robert Gabriel ; Zimbabwe. Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications (1987). Address delivered to the Nation by Cde R.G. Mugabe, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, on Africa Day May 25, 1987. Policy statement. Causeway, Zimbabwe : Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications. OCLC 180493758.
  • Ginkel, J. A. van ; Court, Julius ; Langenhove, Luk van ; United Nations University ; Africa Day Symposium on Integrating Africa (2003). Integrating Africa : perspectives on regional integration and development. Tokyo : United Nations University. OCLC 800928725.
  • Bond, Patrick (2004). South Africa and global apartheid : continental and international policies and politics : address to the Nordiska Afrikainstitutet Nordic Africa Days, Uppsala, Sweden 4 October 2003. Discussion paper / Nordiska Afrikainstitutet = Scandinavian Institute of African Studies. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. Discussion Paper, ISSN 1104-8417 ; 25.

External links[edit]