Oops! Africa Day - is there anything to celebrate?

no picture Michael Boampong
Member since March 2, 2011
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My confession: the last period of May 2011 seem to be a very busy one for me at Uppsala University, given that I have to attend some eight seminars where we discuss the thesis of colleague students. Well, next week Monday and Tuesday (30th and 31st May) happens to be when I present my own thesis and serve as an opponent as well on another thesis. Given the busy nature, I kind of forgot to make a note of Africa Day, which is observed on every 25th May. Well, my philosophy (one of my philosophies, anyway—I have quite a few), is “better late than never.” So, on that note, I think this post should have been made in the early hours of the day but I want to treat it as a late but important post.

Africa Day is the annual commemoration on May 25. Coincidentally, the continent was lucky enough to have the UN Boss grace the occasion in Ethiopia as part of Mr. Ban’s five-day visit.

I was elated to hear that theme (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38500&Cr=Africa ) for this year’s Africa Day celebration is “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.” This is very timely for the African society where youth continue to have little or no opportunities to “accelerate” their development and the Earth is in crises partly because of unsustainable actions by “the exploitative market structures of Goliath against David corporations” which in some cases are stronger than governments as Dr. Maja Göpel will put it.

Have you noticed how youth empowerment can promote sustainable development? Apart from some obvious connections like sustainable economic growth through youth employment, the UN Boss also tries to highlight the role that youth can play “sustainable management of the earth’s ecosystems and resources” – something interesting that can be related to the role of young people in driving the Green Economy agenda. Other issues of interest include “building an environment conducive to prosperity, democracy and peace”- all of which are also very much crucial to some extent in creating a free society where young people can express themselves, get support in terms of financial and technical support and participate freely in the development process of our dear continent.

I use the word “celebrate” and I think traditionally some people will say “Happy Africa Day” or “Let’s celebrate Africa Day”, but some people think otherwise. For me on Africa Day, I celebrate the young people who still have hope in our continent and try to “be the change” that they want to see even with limited or no resources. Let’s keep our dreams alive!

What are your thoughts on the theme? If you’re a young person or a youth development activist and a Pan Africanist, is there really anything worth celebrating on an Africa Day? Any reason(s) for a yes or no answer??

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