african liberation day
Dagbayonoh Kia Nyanfor II, PV Special Correspondent, Monrovia, Liberia
May 25, 2023, marks the 60th annual celebration of Africa Day, formerly African Liberation Day. On this date in 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established. It was a federation of 31 independent African states including Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Liberia, Libya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Five years earlier, on April 15, 1958, Ghana had hosted the First Congress of Independent African States to discuss the formation of the OAU. The organization vowed to help liberate other African countries under European colonial rule. Liberia played an essential role in the establishment of the OAU. The government allowed future African leaders to travel to other countries under Liberian passports.
In America, we gathered at Malcolm X Park in Washington, DC in the 70’s and 80’s to celebrate African Liberation Day. We heard speakers such as Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) discuss African liberation and the need to organize. We were committed to the struggle.
The struggle for black civil rights in America helped inspire the African liberation movement. Future African leaders, including Kwame Nkrumah and Nnamdi Azikiwe, were students in America. He saw the struggle of blacks against discrimination, segregation and oppression. On his return home, he became involved in advocating independence. The major colonial powers were Great Britain and France, which dominated most of Africa. While British colonialism allowed its subjects relative freedom to govern, the French incorporated their colonial countries as part of France.
There were two ideological groups in the OAU, which is now the African Union; One, the Casablanca Group, and two, the Monrovia Group. “The former advocated a progressive and pan-African stance on African liberation, calling for a union of African states. The latter took a conservative approach, calling for a gradual approach to unity. Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Kwame of Ghana Nkrumah, and Sekou Toure of Guinea belonged to the Casablanca group, while Félix Houphouet-Bogni of Ivory Coast and William Tubman of Liberia belonged to the Monrovia group.
In the 1960s, Liberia made positive history internationally. Former member states of the League of Nations and Ethiopia took up the matter of South West Africa against South Africa. Furthermore, in the 1960s, Liberia became a beacon of the African independence struggle. But in this case, South Africa argued that it did not have a moral position to advocate against the alleged human oppression in Liberia because in Liberia, the ruling elite, the Americo-Liberians, suppressed and oppressed the native majority. The late scholar Sirenas Nyan Forh and others classified the situation in Liberia as one of “black colonialism”.
In 1961, Sierra Leone gained independence under the leadership of Milton Margai. He and Siaka Stevens were members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, one of the oldest political parties and the current party in power in the country, but Stevens later left to join the All People’s Congress, which formed from the former slums. It was a party of grassroots people. of Freetown.
Margai, a physician was calm; His brother, Albert, a lawyer, succeeded him after his death. Unlike the American-Liberians, in Sierra Leone, black American settlers, called Creoles, were not allowed by the British to take power upon arrival. In fact, they mostly wanted freedom from slavery and founded a settlement called Freetown, which is now the capital of Sierra Leone. Before their arrival there were people like Kru and Basa from Liberia. The Temne and Sherbro kings received former slaves and gave them land to farm. Since independence, African natives such as Limbas, Lokos, Mendes and Temnes have ruled the country.
Black civil rights, the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, and the African liberation movement inspired advocacy for change in Liberia. For example, the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), the Federation of Liberian Associations in America, Avina Inc., and the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) engaged in progressive advocacy in the 70s for multi-party democracy in Liberia. , Thus in 1980, he helped bring an end to the True Whip Party government, which had existed for over a hundred years.
Liberia and Sierra Leone, like other African countries, moved from one-party government to multi-party democracy not long after independence. Although African countries have vast productive land and are no longer under colonial power, they are dependent on foreign nations for survival.