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Topnews, Politik, Afrikanische Union

02. Mai 2013

Celebrating 50 Years of African Unity - The AU Now and Then

“2013 will mark a momentous occasion for the continent: the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, and 11 years of the launch of the African Union. As the Secretariat of the union, the commission will ensure that the marking of the 50th anniversary is an important milestone in the history of the continent. It will be an opportunity to reflect on where we come from, appreciate where we are, and plan for where we are going in the next 50
years.”
 – Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, African Union Commission Chair

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on signature of the OAU Charter by representatives of 32 governments. A further 21 states have joined gradually over the years, with South Africa becoming the 53rd member in 1994.

The main objectives of the OAU were, among other things, to:

  • rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonisation and apartheid
  • promote unity and solidarity among African states
  • coordinate and intensify cooperation for development
  • safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states
  • promote international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations.

As a continental organisation, the OAU provided an effective forum that enabled
member states to adopt coordinated positions on matters of common concern to the continent in international fora and defend the interests of Africa effectively.

Through the OAU Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa, the continent worked and spoke as one with undivided determination in forging an international consensus in support of the liberation struggle and the fight against apartheid. 

As the then Deputy President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma, said at the opening of the 76 Ordinary Session of the OAU Council of Ministers in Durban on 4 July 2002: “When it was established in 1963, the main mandate of the OAU was to unite the African people, fight colonialism, imperialism and all forms of racial oppression, including the most inhumane one – apartheid, thereby promoting the independence of the African nation states.

“The struggles waged by our people under the banner of the OAU were aimed at freeing and restoring the dignity of the African people. The unity and solidarity of our peoples from Cape to Cairo, and from Madagascar to Senegal characterised the anti-colonial struggle. Today, we are able to celebrate this major achievement of the OAU.”

“Those achievements of the OAU have laid the perfect foundation for the AU, which will seek to consolidate the gains of the OAU, and foster unity and cohesion in confronting the challenges facing the continent.”

The OAU initiatives paved the way for the birth of the AU and its official launch in July 2002 in Durban.

The vision of the AU is that of: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa,
driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”

This vision of a new, forward-looking, dynamic and integrated Africa will be fully
realised through relentless struggle on several fronts and as a long-term endeavour. The AU has shifted focus from supporting liberation movements in the erstwhile African territories under colonialism and apartheid, as envisaged
by the OAU since 1963 and the Constitutive Act, to an organisation spear-heading Africa’s development and integration.

“May I reiterate our conviction that only by working together, as a single and indivisible continent of Africa, under the able leadership of the African Union, can we do more to improve the quality of life of all Africans while discharging our responsibilities on the African continent and globally.” – Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini Zuma.

(Acknowledgement: www.au2002.gov.za, http://au.int/en/about/nutshell)

Source: |+| Ubuntu Magazine (pdf)

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