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President  Zuma Hosts Africa Day Celebrations 
Article by Sgt Tebogo Kekana, Ad Astra Magazine, photos by Cpl Mabelina Mokoatle

The South African National Defence Force Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma hosted the 2017 Africa Day Celebrations at the Sefako Makhatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on 25 May 2017. The South African Air Force (SAAF) Choir serenaded the guests with melodies that included the African Union Anthem.


The South African Air Force Choir performed for the President and his guests on Africa Day

The celebration was attended by United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), House of Traditional leaders, Social Cohesion Advocates and religious leaders and living legends in the creative arts industry, veterans and friends, ambassadors and high commissioners from the African continent and abroad as well as stakeholders from various sectors.


President Jacob Zuma with guests during the 2017 Africa Day Celebrations

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, being the programme director for the day, introduced Ovuwa (Reawakening) Cultural Group from University of Pretoria (UP) rendered a lit performance that got a standing ovation. “We wish you a happy Africa Day, as we celebrate our Africanness, lets work towards African integration and reflect on how far we have come, in order to map the road ahead, at the heart of our African agenda, is a quest for economic and political co operation as well as unity. We are proud, despite the challenges we face, this is a day to celebrate our rich culture, Africans is who we are, may we continue strengthening the continent through innovation, the economy and celebrating the achievements of people and nations across the continent,” he said.


Ovuwa (Reawakening) Cultural Group from University of Pretoria said  "Light sparks another, you-me-us!"

President Zuma said, “Today we commemorate the founding of the Organisation of the African Unity, which championed unity and struggles for the decolonization of our beautiful continent. We also mark the formation of its successor, the African Union which was launched on 9 July 2002 in Durban.

We take stock of the progress we made in building an Africa whose inhabitants have hope for a better and brighter future, an Africa without despair.” The Commander in Chief quoted President Kwame Nkrumah who said at the dawn of independence of Ghana: “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.”


Seshegong Secondary School in Olievenhoutbosch honoured the event in remembrance of the contributions of all Africans

The President mentioned that the loss of life and displacement of thousands of people who remain refugees in a colonized Africa, remains of serious concern and requires more effort from the AU member states. “South Africa continues to humbly contribute troops for peacekeeping, and in mediation efforts in our continent. We are proud of our soldiers who are always ready to be deployed for peace.”      

Speaking to veteran singer, Ms Abigail Kubheka, she mentioned, “Lets revive Africa’s image through music, in this fascinating and beautiful continent. I enjoyed the warm welcome that the Air Force Choir gave us; they gave me goose bumps when they sang. As we commemorate 54 years since the formation of the Organization of African Unity, the future is safe. We celebrate our culture, our pride, our resilience and passion for change and singing our songs loud and clear.”

17 year old Fortune Ramatladi from Seshegong Secondary School in Olievenhoutbosch was one of the girls who were invited to honour the initiative of ‘Take a Girl Child To School’ said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Today im going to speak my native language all day, after all, “Xichangani I Xilungu so…” loosely translated as ‘XiTsonga is like English’

Nonhlanhla Ndala, Teacher at Seshegong Secondary School in Olievenhoutbosch said, “Lets increase our love for sweet heritage, lets change the African story from what is sold to us, to what we know it as. Aluta Continua, stay woke! We have so much potential, and we are the generation to make it happen. Break down stereotypes, perceived as a continent of starving, diseased people and illiterates.”

 

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