The month of May is recognised as Africa month – a time when the continent of Africa commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
The establishing the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) in 1963, the African continent became a pioneer in being the first continent to focus on continental unity and to encourage nation building through unity and freedom from oppression. It is in celebration of this milestone of the OAU and its successor, the African Union, that the Department of Arts and Culture will host a series of events to celebrate Africa Day on 25th May and throughout May for Africa Month.
Yet even before 1963, many initiatives were taken by Africans – both from the continent and in its diaspora – for Africa to regain its rightful place in the world. South Africans are also found amongst those earlier generations who made enormous contributions towards this effort. The speech of Pixley Ka Isaka Seme in 1906, on the “Regeneration of Africa”, would be echoed by the generations that followed, and enhanced through a number of initiatives aimed at the decolonisation and regeneration of the continent.
Africa Month also seeks to increase the appreciation and demand for arts and culture goods and services, and to stimulate competitive markets for trade among African countries.
This year’s Africa Month is celebrated under the theme: “The year of Arts, Culture and Heritage: in the year of Charlotte Maxeke”.