Making Africa Day the commemoration of justice and reconciliation
This week, Africa Day gives us good cause to celebrate – around the continent, we are seeing increasing peace and stability, lower levels of conflict, and progress in consolidating democracy in a number of countries. Where conflict has occurred, many countries have introduced transitional justice mechanisms to strengthen conflict resolution efforts and democratization.
On 25 May 1963, 31 African leaders from newly-independent countries convened a summit in Addis Ababa, which resulted in the formation of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU). It was also on this date that Africa Day was named. The OAU, now the African Union, has advocated for interventions promoting national reconciliation to be included in the development and democratization efforts in a number of post-conflict countries.
Africa Day is reason to celebrate independence across the continent, but also an opportunity to recognize the value of reconciliation as an important process in addressing past injustices and honouring the spirit of democracy. However, it also reminds us of the challenges many countries still face and reminds us of the importance of continued work to address these – including poverty, inequality, resource management and state accountability, among others.