Parliament Commemorates Africa Day

The Presiding Officers urge national, continental and global players to move in unity to change pockets of excellence in African development into massive interventions that redefine the quality of life of all Africans 

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 28, 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa joins the African continent and the world in wishing Africa a speedy rise to prosperity and meaningful development of all its peoples. In a joint statement to mark Africa Day, National Assembly Speaker Ms Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Ms Thandi Modise said, ‘the time for Africa’s awakening as a giant in the world in many respects has come and no effort should be spared in driving the collective advancement of the people of Africa”.

Africa Day is observed across the continent to celebrate the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, later remodelled and renamed the African Union, to drive an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa with all its peoples at the centre of such fundamental change. The collaboration of liberated African countries and the liberation movements in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid took 31 years to free all African countries.

The Presiding officers said: “Africa Day is also an opportunity for us to celebrate our majestic past, our common heritage and the values of Ubuntu, which include common humanity, mutual respect, caring and protection, which lie at the heart of this heritage. Advancing these ideals involves resisting those practices that undermine the values of our common humanity and result in destabilisation and impoverishment of our continent. This includes xenophobia and the curse of gender-based violence still plaguing our country. The cancer of corruption, also must be eradicated to enable the development of the full potential of our society.”

Speaker Mbete and Chairperson Modise said the 55th anniversary of Africa Day, being celebrated today, coincides with the celebration of two outstanding and iconic leaders of South Africa – uTat’uNelson Mandela and uMam’uAlbertina Sisulu, who would have turned 100 years old this year. They are two of Africa’s sons and daughters of the soil who distinguished themselves through unimaginable sacrifices in the struggle for freedom and democracy and left an indelible mark in the history of this country, the continent and the world. They left South Africa, the continent and the world a better place that is driven by principles and values we cherish as humanity.

Against all odds that the continent continues to face, good progress is being made with the entrenchment of democracy and the continued fall of despots and economies are emerging, as peace takes root in many historically politically unstable nations in the continent.

As the first democratically elected President of South Africa, uTat’uNelson Mandela, addressing the OAU meeting of Heads State and Government in 1994 said: “If freedom was the crown which the fighters of liberation sought to place on the head of mother Africa, let the upliftment, the happiness, prosperity and comfort of her children be the jewel of the crown.” His message had decried the suffering of Mother Africa’s children who paid dearly to achieve freedom from oppressors, celebrated the continent’s achievements and urged everyone to spare no effort in bringing ‘happiness, prosperity and comfort”.

It is for the current generation of Africa leaders across all sectors to work harder for fully shifting from extractive economies, shifting from instability and insecurity and shifting from poverty and inequality so that even the most vulnerable sectors of African societies can taste and celebrate true freedom. The Presiding Officers urge national, continental and global players to move in unity to change pockets of excellence in African development into massive interventions that redefine the quality of life of all Africans.

The Parliament of South Africa has undertaken to double its efforts through regional, continental and international forums of parliamentarians to advance the development of the African continent and transform multi-lateral structures to better serve all peoples of the world and affirm Africa’s place.

Members of Parliament (MPs) had a debate on Africa Day yesterday afternoon and today MPs and officials are showcasing their diversity through a variety of African cuisines, attire, arts, songs and dance, to showcase their strength and unity.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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