Africans from the five regions of the continent and the Diaspora as well as guests from around the world converged on Saturday, 25 May 2013 at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to commemorate the 50thanniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU), established on May 25, 1963, in the same city.
The celebration featured intellectual debates on the theme: “Pan Africanism and African Renaissance”, followed by a cultural evening in the presence of current and former Heads of State of the Union as well as former Secretary Generals of the OAU and former Chairpersons of the AU. The United Nations Secretary General was among the guests.
Former President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, who was present at the signing of the OAU Charter in 1963 animated the cultural evening with a message to the new generation and a song in honour of women that aroused a lot of emotion and determination from the crowd. Mr. HaileMariam Dessalegn, Chairperson of the African Union and Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, stressed the importance of this day saying that it was an occasion to honour the founders of the continental organisation who created the OAU 50 years ago, with a resolve to persue the quest for African Unity in earnest, inspired by the ideals of panafricanism.
In her commemorative address at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission called on all Africans to galvanize efforts and contribute to the Agenda 2063, so that Africa takes its destiny into its own hands and occupies its rightful place in the world arena. “We pay tribute to the pioneers of Pan-Africanism, on the continent and in the Diaspora, and to the Founders of the OAU for their wisdom and foresight to lay the foundations for the unity and solidarity of Africa”, she noted. These early generations, she said, embodied the Pan African values of selflessness, solidarity and service to the people.