The year 1985 was one of sombre realism for the OAU at its 20th summit. Delegates arrived at an airport full of relief planes bearing food for the starving and this was a constant reminder of the fundamental problems facing the continent as a whole. This report by Richard Hall, filed from Addis Ababa, was first published by New African in January 1986.
“Your problems will never by fully solved until and unless ours are solved. You will never be fully respected until and unless we are also respected. You will never be recognised as free human beings until and unless we are also recognised and treated as human beings,” Malcolm X pleaded in a speech given at the OAU Summit on 17 July 1964, asking African leaders to take up the plight of the then 22 million African-American community in the USA who were experiencing racial discrimination by their own government.
Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah’s speech at the founding of the OAU has since become a classic, even iconic. In front of 31 other African heads of state who met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 24 May 1963, Nkrumah appealed, cajoled, and did everything in perhaps his greatest speech ever to convince his colleagues to go the whole hog and create a strong continental union. Sadly, they decided otherwise. Below is an extract from that speech.
When Africans today look back on the performance of the OAU in the 39 years it existed, they tend to forget how external interests contributed to the weaknesses of the Organisation. From its very beginnings, the Organisation was hamstrung by the machinations of Western countries which feared that a strong African continental union would damage their interests in Africa. Osei Boateng has been looking at the history books.
The signing of the charter of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa on 25 May 1963 was the culmination of years of efforts by African leaders, in which President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia played prominent roles. We look back at how the OAU was born, some of its achievements (particularly in the liberation struggle), and unfinished business on the economic front. This was first published by New African in June 200
Steven Spielberg’s new film, Lincoln, may have won a clutch of gongs at the 85th Academy Awards (otherwise known as the Oscars), which were being held as we went to print. However, Lincoln the movie is in essence a masterpiece of misinformation because, in reality, the central character of the film did not free African slaves in the USA as the film claims. Leslie Goffe reports
Piracy began over 2,000 years ago when sea robbers threatened the trading routes of Ancient Greece. This brief history of piracy is reproduced here by courtesy of the Royal Naval Museum Library, London.
Steve Biko, the celebrated political activist, has been the subject of a number of books. But a new one, written by Xolela Mangcu, is set to become a seminal biography. And this is not just history – as Mangcu explains. Biko’s life and the Black Consciousness Movement are as relevant to South Africa today as they were during the anti-apartheid struggle.