President Jacob Zuma will to host the national 2017 Africa Day celebration at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.
Africa Day is celebrated annually on 25 May within the African continent to mark the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963 and the African Union (AU) in 2002, as well as chart the progress made by the continent since then to advance democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development.
The theme for Africa Month 2017 is “The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World”. South Africa will use the day to reaffirm support for the African Union’s 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 2017 Africa Day will also mark the celebration of 23 years since the country’s reintegration into the OAU/AU and the international community, following the dawn of freedom and democracy in 1994.
“Africa Day affords us an opportunity to celebrate our 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,” said President Zuma.
The President said the celebration of Africa Day also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the contribution of the African continent to South Africa’s struggle for liberation.
“Through establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) in 1963, the Africa continent became a pioneer in being the first continent to focus on and encourage nation building through unity and freedom from oppression. We can never forget the refuge provided by many countries in the continent to 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.
The celebrations take place a few weeks after the successful hosting of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting.
“The 27th session of the World Economic Forum on Africa was a tremendous and fruitful success for South Africa as we have collectively made a clear and coherent statement that South Africa and the African continent are ideal investment destinations and they are open for business,” President Zuma said.
South Africa continues to contribute to peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-war reconstruction and development efforts in the continent. 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 Africa Day celebration will be attended by ambassadors and high commissioners from Africa and abroad as well as stakeholders from various sectors.