Address by Hon. Premier DD Mabuza at Africa Day Celebrations, Coronation Park Stadium, Umjindi Local Municipality 

25 May 2009

Programme Director, MEC for Culture, Sport and Recreation, Mr V Shongwe
Executive Mayor of Umjindi Municiplaity, Clr RV Lukhele
Executive Mayor of Ehlanzeni Distrct, Clr Mkhonto
Members of the Executive Council
Members of Traditional Leadership among us today
Esteemed Delegations from SADC, including
•  HE Mr Fernando Fazenda, Mozambican Ambassador to South Africa and his delegation
•  HE Mr MA Lehloenya, the Lesotho Consul General to South Africa and his delegation
•  The Namibian delegation led by Mr Cornelius Engelbrecht
•  The Botswana delegation led by Mr Sello Mothlabane from the Botswana High Commission in South Africa
•  The CEO of the Swaziland National Council of Artis and Culture, Mr Vusi Nkambule
Our cultural workers
Fellow Africans
Comrades and compatriots
Ladies and gentlemen

On this day, Africans across the continent and the Diaspora gather to celebrate Africa 's independence and freedom from decades of dehumanising colonial oppression.

As we do so, we are inspired by the achievements that the peoples of Africa have made in building a human rights-based culture on the continent in pursuit of core values of freedom, equality, and democratic governance.

As we celebrate progress, this day also affords us an opportunity to look back, reflect and ask questions about what is going wrong in some parts of our beloved continent.

As Africans, we should be concerned that we continue to have some of our brothers and sisters subjected to violent attacks, displacements and murder. These conflicts continue to undermine development.

Our collective call to action must seek to eradicate the devastating impact of conflict and instability so that we are able to address the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and social deprivation.

Africa must continue to claim its rightful place in the global community of nations to ensure that the continued growth of the continent brings about the socio-economic empowerment to improve the quality of lives for many Africans who continue to endure the indignity of poverty, deprivation and disease.

As we celebrate Africa Day, we must reflect on progress we have made in ensuring that African countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals which, among others, include eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health.

While progress is being made in meeting these goals, evidence suggests that many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa will find it difficult to meet the MDG targets. Therefore, as we celebrate this day, we must be reminded of the obligation to muster our collective commitment and resources to support each other in achieving the development outcomes of the Millennium Development Goals.

On this day, 46 years ago, the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa was an important milestone in the political history of Africa . African leaders committed to the task of uniting Africa so that the people of Africa work together to pursue a shared vision and common goals to build a better Africa . It was a call for Africa to unite.

Programme Director, the subsequent launch of the African Union (AU) in 2002 in Durban continued to build on the vision and goals enshrined in the founding principles of the OAU. The African Union is an important continental vehicle to strengthen unity, co-operation and the integration of the African continent.

In the face of globalisation and the current challenges of the global economic meltdown, co-operation and integration among African countries become crucial in enhancing Africa's growth prospects, strengthening international competitiveness, and mitigating the devastating impact of the economic downturn.

As Africa battles the global challenges of economic development, the words of one of the African visionary leaders, Nkwame Nkrumah, continue to inspire the pursuit for economic integration in Africa . Addressing the OAU founding conference on 24 May 1963 in Addis Ababa , he said:

We need a unified economic planning for Africa . Until the economic power of Africa is in our hands, the masses can have no real concern and no real interest for safeguarding our security, for ensuring the stability of our regimes. With our united resources, energies and talents we have the means, as soon as we show the will, to transform the economic structures of our individual states from poverty to that of wealth, from inequality to the satisfaction of popular needs. Only on a continental basis shall we be able to plan the proper utilization of all our resources for the full development of our continent.

As Nkwame Nkrumah envisioned, it remains relevant that we foster integration in the work of economic development communities on the African continent to advance the goals of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

As part of realising Nepad objectives, Mpumalanga will continue to strengthen partnerships with Provinces in fellow African countries to enhance co-operation in trade, and other agreed areas of mutual interest. We are already enjoying fruitful partnerships with Maputo and Maputo City provinces in Mozambique, the Governorate of Ismailia in Egypt and neighbouring Swaziland.

Among others, our co-operation with these African Provinces focuses on strengthening trade and investment, agriculture, tourism development, culture, as well as the implementation of the 2010 World Cup Programme. The Maputo Development Corridor programme presents endless prospects for increased co-operation and the implementation of joint projects between Mpumalanga and Mozambican provinces.

In our global partnerships, it remains critical that Africa speaks with a united voice to elevate Africa's development priorities on the global development agenda. Our engagement with the rest of the world should not be based on exploitative relationships that promote self-interest at the expense of Africa's growth and development. We should encourage equal partnerships that advance the development needs of the African people.

As Africans, we must seek African solutions for African problems. We must create political conditions conducive to growth and development. Peace, democracy, security, good governance, and a culture of human rights are imperative conditions of sustainable development.

As a matter of necessity, the African Union should continue to build its institutional capabilities for conflict prevention, resolution and management.  While we are encouraged by the democratisation of many African governments, there are worrying developments in some parts of our continent where coercive and undemocratic transfers of power occur.

The African Union should continue to promote democratic transfer of power through transparent and fair electoral processes. It must also contribute to building lasting peace and security in conflict-riddled parts of our continent.

Through the work of the African Parliament, Africa must create a meaningful platform for the people of Africa to have a voice in matters of governance that impact directly on their lives and collective destiny. We must promote a culture of transparency and accountability to the people for whom we carry mandates in multilateral institutions.

On this day, we must be inspired by the legacy and values of African visionary leaders whose fight against colonialism created the prospects for freedom, political independence, and pan-African patriotism.

Long live the spirit of:

•  Kwame Nkrumah
•  Julius Nyerere
•  Sékou Touré
•  Samora Machel
•  Nelson Mandela
•  Patrice Lumumba
•  Eduardo Mondlane
•  Ahmed Ban Bela
•  Modibo Keita
•  Walter Sisulu
•  Agnostino Neto
•  Joshua Nkomo
•  Seretse Kgama
•  Kenneth Kaunda
•  Oliver Tambo
•  Chief Albert Luthuli…
•  To all the African leaders who liberated Africa.

Our collective duty is to uphold their legacy and build a united Africa.

Mayibuye! I-Afrika Mayibuye!

Thank you.

Issued by: Office of the Premier

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