Forty-nine years ago today the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union, was founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Back then the OAU included 32 countries and continued to expand as countries gained independence until South Africa finally joined in 1994.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon explained the importance of Africa Day:

“Each year, Africa Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the peoples and governments of Africa.”

Africa Day is a yearly celebration highlighting the achievements, culture, advancements, and histories of Africa’s countries. Celebrations are held across the continent, the UK, U.S., and the Caribbean. Some events include concerts, business forums, cultural exchanges, and lectures.

Despite what is often broadcast in Western media, Africa is a diverse continent with histories and cultures that stretch back to the beginning of the Earth. While many choose to focus on Africa’s challenges, Africa Day reminds us to celebrate its rich past and promising future.

In honor of Africa Day, check out one of my favorite Nigerian artists, Fela Kuti.

Who are some of your favorite African icons?

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