AFRICA DAY 2020 – Virtual Events Roundup

9:00 am - 1:00 am | 25 May 2020
Online | Free

Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union) on this day, 25 May, in 1963. It aims to celebrate African unity.

After World War II, the process of decolonisation of the African continent gathered momentum as Africans increasingly agitated for more political rights and independence. While in some parts of the continent colonial powers reluctantly and grudgingly relinquished power, in other parts African people launched protracted struggles against the recalcitrant colonial regimes. Thus, between 1945 and 1965 a significant number of African countries gained independence from European colonial powers. Ghana became the first African country south of the Sahara to gain independence on 6 March 1957. Its independence served an inspiration to other African countries struggling against colonial rule and as a result Ghana occupied a central role in the struggle against colonial rule.

Just over a year after its independence Ghana, under the leadership Kwame Nkrumah, convened the first Conference of Independent African States on 15 April 1958. Amongst those countries that attended were Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Liberia, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. There were also representatives of the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Union of Cameroonian Peoples. It is worth noting that there were only eight African countries who were independent at this time. The conference was an unequivocal assertion of Africa’s rejection of colonial and imperialist domination of the continent. It became the first Pan African conference to be held on the continent bringing together various African countries. Furthermore, the conference became a collective platform from which African countries sought to cooperate in the struggle against colonialism.

To further encourage and forge a common goal of fighting against colonial rule, the conference called for the observance of African Freedom Day once a year, to mark “the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolise the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”

From 1959 to 1963 African Liberation Day was celebrated in Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana and by African people in Britain, China, Soviet Union and the United States (US). Other conferences were held in January 1960 in Tunisia followed by another one in Egypt in March 1961. As more African countries became independent, the need for an organisation that would articulate aspirations of African people and their struggle arose. Consequently on 25 May 1963, leaders of 32 African nations converged in Ethiopia‘s capital Addis Ababa and formed the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

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The African Union has created an African Union COVID-19 Response Fund with the aim of strengthening the continental response to COVID-19 and mitigate its socio economic and humanitarian impact on African populations. The fund was established by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat on 26 March 2020.

This AfricaDay, all Africans, people of African descent and friends of Africa are encouraged to “give a little” to the fund. A target of $1million has been set for the day. Contributions can be made in any currency and this will be automatically converted into United States dollars, which is the original currency of the Fund account.

Donations can be made at https://au.int/en/AUCOVID19ResponseFund.

My top picks:

  1. Africa Day Summit – is part of a three day virtual festival comprising a pre-party on May 23rd, The Thread – Tastemakers Africa’s signature virtual conference going down for the third time on May 24, and Amplify Africa’s Africa Day Celebration on May 25th. The festival brings together African and diasporan leaders, thinkers, movers, and doers to connect and share ways we can win together – especially in times of crisis.

The Summit will feature:

  • Breakout Discussions w/relevant topics pertaining to Africa and the Diaspora
  • Live DJ sets and Music performances
  • Celebrity shout outs and appearances
  • Virtual Marketplace
  • Fundraising to help the fight against COVID-19

To register and for more click here

2. Africa Fashion Week Global Celebrates AFRICA DAY!

Africa Fashion Week London is hosting a ZOOM meet-up of the founders of Africa Fashion Weeks around the world.

We will celebrate each other accomplishments and encourage each other’s resilience as we proudly promote our African heritage, educate and attract the commercial, cultural and developmental opportunities in Africa and its Diaspora. Also in attendance will be the Federation of African Fashion and Creatives Industries and the African Fashion Foundation. Joining us are:

  • African Fashion Foundation
  • Africa Fashion Week Amsterdam
  • Africa Fashion Week Colombia
  • Africa Fashion Week Los Angeles
  • Africa Fashion Week Warsaw (Poland)
  • Africa Fashion Week Middle East
  • Africa Men’s Fashion Week Ghana
  • Diane Carlton (Caribbean)
  • International Festival of African Fashion

Register to attend the webinar here

3. The Africa Day Benefit Concert At Home – is possibly one of the biggest events coming this Africa Day. It’s organised by ViacomCBS Networks Africa and YouTube in partnership with Idris Elba, who will be hosting the two-hour event featuring some of the biggest names on the African music scene. See the schedule below and catch the concert on Monday here on the MTVBase YouTube channel  – Africa has over 95,000 cases of the virus and 2,995 deaths resulting from it as of May 21. The concert will feature performances from music acts like Benin’s Angelique Kidjo, Kenya’s Sauti Sol, South Africa’s Sho Madjozi, and Nigeria’s Burna Boy. South African comedian Trevor Noah, reigning Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, and rapper Sean Paul are also part of the concert’s line up presenters, according to the organizers. All funds raised will go to the World Food Program and the UNICEF who are supporting coronavirus-affected communities across Africa.

4. Google’s Art and Culture Platform – Make time to check out these four photographic exhibitions on Google’s Arts and Culture platform. First up, head to virtual Kenya to visit the African Heritage House, a building constructed of varied mud architectures from across the continent. It is home to an expansive collection of African art and artefacts. And, in real life, it overlooks the Nairobi National Park.  Then head west to Cameroon for Elephants with Wings. This series of images and artworks from Cameroon’s contemporary local artists depicts the country’s “diverse human and cultural landscape” from their perspective. You might have seen images of the pastoralist Dinka people of South Sudan doing the rounds on the internet over the last few years, most likely as a background image for one of the many so-called “African proverbs” often shared on social media. It is something else altogether to view these images shot by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher. Do yourself a favour and visit this exhibition and read about the story behind these spectacular images. The exhibition forms part of African Ceremonies: Passages, an exhibition showcasing African tribal ceremonies, paying homage “to the rituals that mark every important occasion in tribal life — birth, initiation, courtship, marriage, royal coronations, seasonal rituals, healing exorcisms, and death”, through Beckwith and Fisher’s photographic lens.

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