Just like the UN holidays, Africa needs general holidays to celebrate the sacrifice of her heroes and foster unity in the continent.
It is disheartening that Africa continues to pay more attention to the things that divide us over those that unite us as a people.
While it is not wrong to blame the colonial "master" for the division of our continent, it’s entirely our faults that it has remained this way till date. This is because African leaders and Africans, in general, continue to uphold the tenet that tears us apart over the identities that bring us together.
It is this particular problem that has restricted Africa from taking its pride of place amongst continents of the world. It is a shame that till date, Africa is yet to adopt the one currency system solely because African leaders cannot come to terms with whose photo will appear on the currency.
This is how far our personal interest and unreasonable selfishness further divides us. Rather than focus on the positives, Africa continues to pay chief attention to the negativity of every unifier.
There is no doubt that if the issue of general holidays arises on the floor of the African Union, the whole room would be thrown in pandemonium because the various heads of state will have his/her own list of individuals who should be recognized and if adopted to satisfy everyone, every day of the year would be a holiday, which is not possible. Africa must grow past the level of seeing Kwame Nkrumah as a Ghanaian, but rather, an African.
We must not say 'Patrice Lumumba of DR Congo' but 'Patrice Lumumba of Africa'. It is only until we get to this point that we can truly move forward as a continent.Below are a few reasons why we must have our own general holidays as a continent:
1. To create a sense of oneness: A general holiday celebrated by the whole of Africa will give Africans (both those living in the continent and those in Diaspora) a sense of belonging and oneness.
2. Send a message to the colonial powers: General holidays in Africa will pass a strong message to the colonial powers that Africa has risen and is on track to come together and solve its problems collectively.
3. Celebrate bravery and sacrifice: We need to celebrate the bravery and sacrifices of our pan-African heroes and naming a holiday or day after them is a good step in the right direction.
4. Preserve our history: In the words of David McCullough, History is who we are and why we are the way we are. To preserve history for posterity, dedicating a day of reflection for African historical events and personalities will help a long way.
5. Increase consciousness of who we are: These holidays will outlive us but the essence will always remain and the message passed down from generation to generation. It will increase and imbibe in us, the consciousness of who we are.
6. Give honor to whom honor is due: If there is a Martin Luther King Jr. day, why can’t there by a Patrice Lumumba or Kwame Nkrumah day? We have many great men in Africa who achieved a lot while alive, but we do very little to honor them.
7. Create a foundation for African Unity: If we all have a day set aside to celebrate the life, times, struggle and/or achievements of an African irrespective of his country, Africans can build on this to secure more peaceful pacts and build stronger bridges on this foundation.
8. Give opportunity for sober reflection: A day in remembrance of an African hero will give us a reason for constant reflection.
9. Tell our own narratives: To tell the truth about our past, we must tell our own narratives. One problem we have in Africa at the moment is that we have had our history retold by foreigners who end up changing the narrative or leaving out vital parts. A general holiday will give us the opportunity to tell our own narratives.
10. Influence the young generation: Our land belongs to our children and the unborn, our legacy should be their footprint just as we learned from our forefathers; let’s rebuild Africa by arming the younger generations with our history and heritage.
Do you agree?
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