Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The year-long 50th anniversary celebrations of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), were flagged off here Monday by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, and Dr. Teodros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The flag off included the lighting of the torch that symbolises “our desire to reverse the current story line of despair into that of opportunities and potentials”.
According to a PANA Correspondent, ministers of foreign affairs in AU member states were urged to replicate the events in their nations’ capitals so as to officially kick off the celebrations under the theme: “Pan Africanism and African Renaissance’.
The celebrations were on the sideline of the 14th Extraordinary Session of the AU Executive Council which was convened to examine the Strategic Plan of the AU Commission for the period 2014-2017 and the Golden Jubilee of the OUA-AU.
Coinciding with the launching of the golden jubilee, the examination of the Strategic Plan was an occasion to reflect on Africa’s self-reliance and on the continent’s need to “demystify, appropriate and popularize its history, shared values, the state of Africa today, in honor of past generations and to inspire current and future generations”.
PANA recalls that the celebrations will also focus on 12 monthly thematic areas addressing specific areas of progress and challenges on the continent.
They include priority areas such as women empowerment, health, education, peace and security, governance and democracy, and food security.
The celebrations are set to mobilize African Citizens in the continent and the diaspora to promote “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena”.
“Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am and what I need is something I have to find out myself,” Dr. Dlamini-Zuma emphasised, utilising a quote from the late Nigerian literary icon, Chinua Achebe.
She called on AU Member States and all stakeholders to join the celebrations, saying “The current realities and future of Africa can only and must be developed by Africans for Africans.: