The World Federation of Trade Unions Trade Union International Public Service and Allied (WFTU TUI-PS & A) takes this opportunity to join the millions of Africans in the African continent, those in the diaspora, and all the friends of the African family spread throughout the world in celebrating Africa Day which is celebrated on the 25th May.
Indeed, the history of Africa is the history of the world. From the ancient civilisations of Kush, Aksum Mali, Great Zimbabwe, Maphungubwe etc.; the transatlantic African slave trade of the 15th – 19th century and the colonialisation of the continent in the 18th – 19th century Africa has always been a part of the global family of humanity. Yet, the continent and its inhabitants have also paid a disproportionately high price for the advancement of human civilization that has largely been achieved through the plundering of its resources and the dehumanising exploitation of its people in bondage.
The 25th of May was enacted as Africa Day at the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU) to highlight the necessity of the struggle against colonial rule on the African continent. This Day thus represents the resolute determination of Africa and its people to liberate themselves from the bondage of foreign domination and exploitation. Today the whole of the African continent is free from the yoke of colonialism except for Western Sahara which continues to struggle for its liberation from Moroccan colonial occupation. It is indeed sad that the last country that remains under colonial rule on the African soil, is fighting for its freedom not against an outside power but an African country that sits and enjoys full rights in the AU. The continuing occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco is a blasphemy against both Africa Day and the AU.
Today, when so many narrowly think Africa Day is just about celebrating African culture, fashion and cuisine, it is important to remind ourselves that while colonialism has virtually been defeated on the continents, the exploitation of its people and resources by foreign powers has not ceased. Colonialism was but just one version of capitalism which has today evolved into imperialism under the policy of neoliberal-globalisation. This policy has ensured that Africa, and other formerly colonised countries in the South remain on the periphery of world affairs when it comes to global trade, finance and politics. Today the struggle for the liberation of Africa and its people is not only against foreign powers, it is also against local business elites, political elites and petti bourgeoisie elements that collaborate with vested interests in imperialist countries to maintain the economic and political subjugation of the working class and peasantry on the continent.
The struggle of Africa for the dignity and freedom of its long suffering masses is essentially a class struggle against class exploitation and imperialist domination that is being waged by millions of class conscious elements across the world who seek to end the exploitation of man by man. It was for that reason that Africa had many international friends in its struggle against colonialism, and continues to enjoy the support of many progressive countries and working class formations from across the world in its struggle against the adverse effects of capitalism and imperialism. It is not by coincidence that the continent is among the least developed and industrialised continents in the world, and that unemployment and the prevalence of informal work and informal trade is widespread on the continent. All these contradictions correlate with the unfair trade, harsh financial conditions imposed by the likes of World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the foreign interference many countries on the continents are subject to.
In the final analysis, the struggle of Africa against foreign domination and exploitation, is part of the broader international class struggle against imperialist domination and exploitation being waged in different corners of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and the reliance of Africa on its former colonial masters for health equipment, PPE’s and vaccines to fight the pandemic confirm the continued subjugation of the continents and the necessity for it to unite with progressive elements elsewhere in the world to intensify its historic struggle against human domination and exploitation.
Forward with international solidarity!!!
Long Live Africa!!!!
Issued by Zola Saphetha General Secretary TUI-PS&A
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