By Amabo Cecilia Binwi
AmbaNews24 Correspondent, Ireland
The quest for the recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Ambazonia is gradually becoming a reality as Ambazonians the world over continue to make the case for their homeland to become an independent nation. This was the case recently in the Republic of Ireland where the Ambazonian blue and white flag flew high amongst those of other nations of the world at the occasion to celebrate Africa Day.
Most significant of this year’s African Day celebration was the presence of Ambazonia standing side by side with the people representing La Republique du Cameroun as their neighbor. The cordial moments between them reflected and symbolized the desire of the Ambazonian people and the Cameroun people to co-exist as two sovereign neighborly nations in peace and tranquility. The presence of both nations in the prestigious African event standing alongside one another demonstrated the spirit of African Unity, the reality of separate nations and most especially, respect for one another’s identity.
African Day was set aside to commemorate the progressive liberation of Africa from colonial powers and subsequently laid the foundation of the African Union which took place in Addis-Ababa in Ethiopia on May 25th, 1963. Between 1958 and 1963, at least seventeen African countries gained their independence from the western colonial powers, hence calling for celebrations and the commemoration of what was called “African Freedom Day or African Liberation Day”. The first conference held in Accra Ghana on the 15th of April 1958.
The Accra conference became the bedrock of much debate and progress towards achieving African unity and sent an unequivocal message that the African people had rejected and completely turned their backs against any forms of colonial and imperialist domination of the African continent. This also gave birth to the first Pan-African conference held on the continent by Africans for Africa. Furthermore, the conference became a collective platform from which Africans sought to corporate in the struggle against colonialism. The quest for the total liberation of Africa grew and the initiators of the conference called for the observance of African Freedom Day ones a year, to mark what it termed “the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the peoples of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”
Following this, April 15th was seen and celebrated as “African Freedom Day or Africa Liberation Day” and this marked the beginning of what is today celebrated as African Day across the globe by Africans.
Owing to the wind of change that blew throughout the African continent in the 60s, as more African countries become independent, there growing need for a common body or organization that would address and articulate Africa’s aspiration by Africans grew alongside. Eventually, following tireless efforts in the spirit of the Four Aspirations for Africa’s liberation as defined by Late President Nkwame Nkruma of Ghana, these aspirations were summarized as follows:
- The attainment of freedom and independence;
- The consolidation of the freedom and independence of Africa;
- The creation of unity and community between free African states; and
- The economic and social reconstruction of Africa
Consequently, on May 25th, 1963, leaders of 32 African States convened in Addis-Ababa, the Capital of Ethiopia and formed the Organization of African Unity (OAU). One of the key decisions reached on that day was to change the date of the celebration of African Freedom Day from the 15th April to the 25th of May each year to commemorate the creation of OAU. Another significance connection to the date of May 25th in the history of Africa is the replacement of OAU to AU 38 years after its formation in 2001.
In the Spirit of unity and co-existence by fellow Africans and other peoples including former colonial masters, Africans across the globe gather in every country each year to celebrate Africa and its rich heritage and culture. The government of Ireland through Irish Aid in the Department of Foreign Affairs since 2006 has been a full supporter of African Day celebration with their focus to encourage multiculturalism and diversity in Ireland. The programme brings together representatives of all African countries in Ireland, show-casing their various cultures and the common history of the African continent through play, fashion designs, portray, arts, dance and music, African movies by Africans, food and most especially a display of our common heritage as Africans. The colorful event often stands out by the display of various flags from every African Country, flag bearers, and excitement of every country’s brief walk to independence and the celebration of freedom through the hoisting of the African union flag surrounded by every other country in Africa.
African Day celebration takes place in almost every county of Ireland, Co. Cork being the second largest host county after Co. Dublin. The Cork City Council in Collaboration with the African community in Cork sees to it that African Day is funded and celebrated every year to encourage co-existence, social inclusion and integration in the Irish society by Africans. African Day celebrations are officially launched nationwide by the minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Minister Ciaran Connon T.D. and in every county by the Lord Mayor.
The outstanding beauty of the African Day celebration in Cork this year was noticed with the colourful flag of Ambazonia flying high in the sky as the newest member of the African Union. The beauty of the flag was not without notice as its blue and white strips and 13 stars left many asking questions to know who the newest member of the union was. Participants from South Africa show-cased their culture through dance, Nigeria was also very outstanding with their Igbo union uniforms, Malawians, were not left out as were representatives of Ghana, Ambazonia, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Togo, Tanzania and many more as every country in Africa, was represented.
Some of the striking activities that always keep African Day alive in the minds of many is the street parade with African traditional drums and music that leading flag bearers of every country present including the African Union Flag and the host country’s flag. The chanting of freedom songs in various languages especially songs from southern African nations, street dance by youngster often gives beauty to the African Day Celebration. The live streaming of the day’s celebration by national television stations also add more meaning to the celebration as African Day brings it to all even in their bedrooms.
Ambazonia has risen to fall no more.