Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Africa Day, Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng
There can be no better place to celebrate Africa Day than here at the Cradle of Humankind. This is where some of our earliest human ancestors once walked.
It is called Maropeng, which evokes our return to the place of our origin.
As Africans, we are proud of our history, as we are optimistic about our future.
Despite the plunder of Africa’s resources to make other countries rich, Africa rose in defence of her liberty and independence. Today we are the rulers of our own lands.
Despite conquest, colonialism, slavery, apartheid and the many acts of barbarism directed against Africans throughout history, we have prevailed.
More than a hundred years ago, Pixley ka isaka Seme gave a lecture at Columbia University in New York titled “The Regeneration of Africa.”
In his words:
“The ancestral greatness, the unimpaired genius, and the recuperative power of the race, its irrepressibility, which assures its permanence, constitute the African’s greatest source of inspiration.”
This recuperative power of Africa is one of the reasons we observe Africa Day.
We observe Africa Day to remind ourselves of the resilience we possess as Africans, which has taken us from where we have come into the future.
We observe Africa Day to celebrate our unity as Africans, and to remind ourselves of the responsibility we all share to bring about an Africa that is peaceful, prosperous and united.
We know that when we are united, we can overcome even the greatest of difficulties.
It was just three short years ago that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Africa.
South Africa had just assumed the chair of the African Union in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
The pandemic plunged the world into turmoil. There were well-founded fears that African countries with low levels of development would be devastated.
The pandemic was a great trauma for Africa.
Many lives were lost. In our country, we continue to mourn the loss of more than 100,000 lives.
Businesses were forced to close and people lost their jobs.
But this worst health emergency in living memory did not destroy Africa, because Africans came together and acted as one.
The African Union developed a continental response and implemented it with urgency across all the regions of the continent.
We set up a groundbreaking platform to procure medical supplies for African countries, and appointed envoys to mobilise resources to help countries fight the pandemic.
When vaccines became available, we set up a mechanism to acquire them for African countries in need.
Our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic gave new momentum to the cause of African integration.
We learned as Africans that we have the means, the capacity and the political will to develop and implement solutions to Africa’s challenges.
We were reminded that excellent, world-class expertise exists right here on our continent.
It was eminent African scientists, supported by the World Health Organisation, that guided and advised countries on their responses and on evidence-based policymaking.
It was African researchers here in our country who detected new variants of the coronavirus and alerted the world.
We asserted our right to equip ourselves with tools to prepare for future health emergencies, and pushed for the…
This previously appeared on The Presidency. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Joburg Post.