President Hage Geingob
We commemorated the 54th Africa Day under the theme Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth. To locate this discourse on Africa Day, allow me to quote former President Jomo Kenyatta: “Our children may learn about heroes of the past, our task is to make ourselves architects of the future”, unquote.
Therefore it is fitting to call on our young leaders, thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs and philosophers of tomorrow to emulate the spirit of Africa’s founding fathers by learning from the past so that they may become architects of the future of Africa – the continent of our forefathers, the continent of our struggles and victories, the continent we call home.
Today’s African youth must establish themselves as sentinels who guard the doors that open the pathways towards the future prosperity of this continent. Agenda 2063, which encompasses our continent’s aspirations for socio-economic transformation during the next 50 years, will mainly be driven by today’s young Africans, both on the continent and in the diaspora.
Africa awaits the emergence of young leaders, who, following in the revolutionary footsteps of icons of the independence struggle, and by embracing the spirit and ideals of Pan-Africanism, will become the bastions of unity, innovation and development.
These icons of our struggle, will forever be known as harbingers of freedom.
In the greater interest of Pan-Africanism, they transcended the initial differences of opinion on how best to achieve African unity, either through an immediate continental political union as advocated by the Casablanca bloc, or the Monrovia bloc’s gradualist integration starting with regional economic and cultural co-operation. The OAU [Organisation of African Unity] emerged from these two blocs on 25 May 1963, as an important beacon of hope and unifying institution for the oppressed people of Africa.
As we pass on the baton to the younger generations, Africa is calling out for that same spirit of unity, that same spirit of camaraderie, that same spirit of patriotism, to drive the second phase of Africa’s struggle – that of economic independence and technological advancement. To achieve this objective, let me quote Nkrumah, a foremost Pan-Africanist.
“It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.” Pan- Africanism is built on the principles of African unity. Only through unity can we discover African solutions to our problems. A divided Africa is weak. A divided African youth is weak. But united, we will become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.
Through the ideology of Pan-Africanism, our visionary early generation leaders espoused the idea that the people of Africa, both on the continent and in the diaspora, do not only share a common history and ancestry, but also a common destiny. If this is viewed in the context of Agenda 2063 and the individual development plans of respective African states, it is safe to assume that the pursuit of economic development across Africa will be successful if we embrace the vision of a shared destiny.
I would like to conclude with a quote by John Henrik Clarke who said, “Africa is our center of gravity, our cultural and spiritual mother and father, our beating heart, no matter where we live on the face of this earth.” As we commemorate Africa Day, the people of Namibia salute their fellow African brothers and sisters, on the continent and beyond.
We call on all Africans to reignite the Pan Africanist flame. Let us be drawn together by Africa – our center of gravity. Let us unite under the shadow of Africa – our cultural and spiritual mother and father. Africa will always be home.
• This was the message by President Hage Geingob on the occasion of the 54th Anniversary of Africa Day.