A riot of color, music and celebration, Africa Day (otherwise known as African Liberation Day) celebrates the first Organisation of African Unity on May 25th 1963 - later to become the African Union.
It’s an incredible keystone date because it commemorates the 17 countries that gained independence from European colonisers between 1958 and 1963. It’s celebrated by millions of Africans across the world - both in and out of Africa!
In recognition of this amazing event, here are Grass Fields favourite facts about the day:
African Freedom Day
- Ghana became the first country south of the Sahara to gain independence in 1957 - this inspired many others to do the same. Under leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana hosted the Conference of Independent Africa States in 1958, which called for African Freedom Day (Africa Day)
- 25th May is Africa Day, but the month of May is also considered Africa Month
Celebrating Africa Day
- Africa Day symbolises the liberation movement, but it also recognised as a day to observe African heritage and culture. To celebrate the achievements made and use this day as a platform to discuss the challenges Africa faces on a global scale. For instance, armed conflict, poverty and climate change.
- People celebrate Africa Day differently throughout the world. In some African countries, Africa Day is a national holiday. These include Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- In some western cities such as London, New York, and Washington, a range of cultural showcases, festivals and academic gatherings mark the day.
- For instance, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York) hosts DanceAfrica - the largest festival dedicated to African dance in the United States, that runs simultaneously to FilmAfrica. Otherwise, in the UK, ‘Africa Day Dublin’ is a 2 day family festival that celebrates African culture through a range of activities, music and dance performances and educational events.
The theme of Africa Day
- Each year of Africa Day has a different theme. In 2016, the theme was “Building A Better Africa And A Better World” - which had a special focus on human rights and an emphasis on women's rights.
- The theme of Africa Day 2017 is “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth”, whose chief aim is both empowering and raising awareness of the challenges facing Africa’s youth of today
Getting Involved with Africa Day on Social Media!
- There is a range of events occurring throughout the world to celebrate #AfricaMonth and #AfricaDay - just look out for the hashtag (plus #AfricaDay2017), and look at your local events on Facebook!
- Africa On The Rise have launched #ShareYourAfricaStory
- This Is Africa will be having an exciting Twitter chat on #AfricaDay under the hashtag #FutureAfrica54
- Arts & Culture of South Africa (@ArtsCultureSA) are covering a range of events on their Twitter page
- Amadeus Africa will be sharing their activities with the hashtag #DoAfricaDay and invite others to do the same
Grass Fields Africa Day
Here at Grass Fields we love to show our African heritage in the clothing we design and wear. Sourced from Cameroon, Nigeria and Benign, the African print fabric is always vibrant and beautiful, but inspired by a variety of different fashion trends throughout the world. This is what makes us unique - we embrace, and are inspired by, African culture, but also by the western world we now live in. We symbolise a merging of two worlds and we hope many of our customers will wear our clothing on Africa Day and feel proud to be African.
Happy Africa Day everyone :)
*Images by William Murphy