President Jacob Zuma is expected to host an Africa Day Celebration at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on Thursday.
The Presidency said Africa Day was celebrated annually on May 25 to mark the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963 and the African Union (AU) in 2002, as well as to chart the progress made by the continent since 1994.
This year’s theme is The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World. Presidency spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, said the country would use the day to reaffirm support for the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and commit the country to playing its role within the AU to ensure the successful implementation of the vision and plan to build a better Africa.
Celebrating African solidarity
"Africa Day affords us an opportunity to celebrate our African identity. Our country was isolated for decades from the rest of the continent due to the evil system of apartheid colonialism. We are now a full member of the African continent, and since 1994, our continent is correctly the primary focus of our foreign policy," Zuma said.
He added that through the establishment of the OAU in 1963, the African continent had become a pioneer in being the first continent to focus on and encourage nation building through unity and freedom from oppression.
"We can never forget the refuge provided by many countries in the continent to South Africans who went into exile and provided material, social, political and military support. Africa Day thus provides an opportunity to celebrate that African solidarity and to continue expressing it through the ongoing support for many in the continent who are caught up in conflict.
"It is a day for us to celebrate African solidarity, friendship, a common humanity and destiny," said Zuma.
He said the celebration also took place a few weeks after the successful hosting of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting.
"The 27th session of the World Economic Forum on Africa was a tremendous and fruitful success for South Africa as we have collectively made a clear and coherent statement that South Africa and the African continent are ideal investment destinations and they are open for business,"he said.
Ambassadors and high commissioners from Africa were expected to attend the celebrations.