EXCLUSIVE: Africa Day: SA celebrates amid skepticism
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE ascension of South African Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the helm of the African Union Commission (AUC), as well as the recent outbreak of xenophobic attacks, would see the country celebrate Africa Day for the first time.
Since the attainment of independence in 1994, the day, commemorated around the continent yearly on May 25, has passed without any official government event.
It is not a calendar event.
In an unprecedented development, on Sunday, President Jacob Zuma will lead South Africa’s Africa Day celebrations in Mamelodi, Pretoria under the theme, “Building a Better Africa and a Better World.”
Nonetheless, foreign nationals resident here are skeptical of the move.
“Imagine if Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was not holding a key African Union position, do you think South Africa would have mobilised the entire nation or continent to honour and celebrate the AU Day?” Jean Kassongo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), living in Pretoria asked.
Gerald Mulenga of Zambia, residing in Nelspruit, also raised skepticism at South Africa’s commemorations.
“Why is it that South Africa has never celebrated the day since 1994 until 2014?” asked Mulenga?
“South Africans see it fit this time around to celebrate the AU Day simply because the 54 African nations would challenge their own Dlamini-Zuma, who is the UA Commission chairperson, as to why her country did not recognise or embrace the important day hence this pretence,” Clifford Tibaijuka of Tanzania, who is resident in Mafiknge, North West, said.
Habu Haile of Ethiopia, who resides in Cape Town, also doubted South Africa’s sincerity in embracing this day.
“I doubt South Africa’s commitment to this day! This is a face cover due to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma holding the AU Commission position,” claimed Haile, whose country houses the AU headquarters.
In Durban, where both President Jacob Zuma and the AU Commission, his former wife, come from, Mavhuto Banda of Malawi, who was a victim of the recent xenophobia, dismissed South Africa’s latest embrace and celebration of the AU Day.
“If South Africa means it, we thank the spirit of Nkwame Nkurumah, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta and Joshua Nkomo. Otherwise, even their own worshiped hero Nelson Mandela never embraced this great day,” said Banda, mentioning the names of doyens of the struggle for the emancipation of the continent.
Mozambique’s Roberto Camello, who lives in Port Elizabeth, said South Africa was not committed to the AU Day arguing the recent xenophobic attacks unleashed against fellow Africans were indications the country did not wish to be part of Africa.
“There is serious denialism with many South Africans! While my country is not developed, at least we know and embrace the history of Africa than South Africans, who behave like Europeans living in Africa.
“They don’t care much about the success of the continent except for themselves hence recent and previous xenophobic attacks aimed against all Africans living in the country except Europeans,” said Carmillo.
Nigerian national, Abe Ifeanyi, said he was not convinced South Africa embraced Africa Day.
“The timing confirms that South Africa only celebrates or commemorates this day because they have Dlamini-Zuma heading the AU, otherwise they could have celebrated this great day since the dawn of 1994 democracy if they were genuine,” Ifeanyi charged.
Many Africans believe South Africa only talks positive about the continent when there are positions to be contested at the United Nations (UN) and other key things to benefit from the continent.
Africa Day is celebrated annually within the African continent to mark the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963 and the African Union in 2002 as well as the progress made by the continent since then to advance democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development.
– CAJ News
Short URL: http://cajnewsafrica.com/?p=6022