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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Africa Day 2023: Ramaphosa calls for unity and remembrance

On Africa Day, Ramaphosa urged for increased unity as well as reflection on the continent's resilience and potential.

Africa Day festivities were afoot at the Cradle of Humankind on 25 May as President Cyril Ramaphosa passionately emphasised the need for a united African continent.

His keynote address echoed the principles of the African Union’s founding charter.

Essence of Africa Day

Africa Day serves as a memorial for the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) back in 1963.

The OAU is known as the African Union (AU) today.

Ramaphosa said the day “held in honour” as we remember “our resilient African spirit that has taken us from our roots and into the future”.

“Africa Day is a celebration of our unity and a moment for us to reflect on our shared responsibility in building an Africa that is peaceful, prosperous and united.”

OAU’s legacy

President Ramaphosa also said he believes in the continued relevance of the OAU’s founding charter to contemporary Africa.

He said the charter to defend African independence and to maintain respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity remains as relevant in modern-day Africa as it did in the past.

The charter also resists all forms of neocolonialism. These principles, Ramaphosa pointed out, are still relevant today.

Pandemic in Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a traumatic experience for Africa.

Still, it illustrated what the continent can achieve when resources are coordinated for the collective welfare.

Ramaphosa praised the AU role during the pandemic: “Our collective response to the pandemic gave new momentum to the cause of African integration.

“We learned as Africans that we have the means, the capacity and the political will to develop and implement solutions to Africa’s challenges.”

Ramaphosa took a firm stand against xenophobia and discrimination – especially in South Africa.

READ: More than 80% of online posts show negative sentiment for foreigners

Peaceful conflict resolution

He reminded citizens of the importance of unity and diversity, urging the country to focus on finding common ground and unity rather than division.

Lastly, Ramaphosa reiterated his commitment to peace and diplomacy when addressing conflicts within and beyond the African continent.

He spoke out against the dangers of external conflicts dragging African nations into the fray.

The president also reiterated South Africa’s commitment to peaceful conflict resolution, independent foreign policy, and non-alignment.

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