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Africa Day Celebrations 2015

On Friday 22 May, the Wits Language School celebrated Africa Day – the 52nd anniversary – with song, food and dance. Traditional Tsonga dancers from Limpopo wowed the guests with captivating traditional dance performances. A South African Sign Language interpreter, Lindsay Rielly, was present to cater to our Deaf tutors and guests at the event.

View some photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Africa Day Address by Dr Kim Wallmach: Head of WLS

Bonjour à tous et bienvenue à Wits Language School pour la célébration de la journée de l’Afrique! Sanibonani nonke! Siyanamukela eWits Language School.

Welcome to everyone and thank you for attending this most important occasion, Africa Day.

Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now known as the African Union) on 25 May 1963. On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The primary aims of the OAU were to:

  • To co-ordinate and intensify the co-operation of African states in order to achieve a better life for the people of Africa.
  • To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of African states.
  • Eradicate all forms of colonialism and white minority rule

We can say that these politicians succeeded because we are all standing here today celebrating Africa Day.

Our aim here at the School is to celebrate African unity – many African countries as well as countries from across the world are represented at the School. And looking around me, at the wonderful costumes and traditional attire people are wearing, together with the camaraderie and atmosphere, that unity can be seen and felt all around us. This is the kind of unity we wish we could extend to the whole of South Africa, and Africa.

South Africa has had a turbulent past, and some would say that we are still learning how to be African. This year in April some South Africans forgot that they are African, and we saw xenophobia in our country. The word xenophobia means an unreasonable fear of strangers, but it is dangerous because it denies our common humanity. All of us are strangers somewhere, but what we share is that we are all human. As many of us know, Africa is the cradle of humankind. We can trace every person on this earth back to his or her African heritage. Whether you are from Europe, Asia, the Americas or Africa, your genes bear the traces of your African birth.

So on this day, Africa Day, let us recognise our own qualities, our gifts, and especially our great warmth. As Africans we say, in the spirit of ubuntu, “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, which in English means “A person is a person because of other people.”  In other words, “I am human because of other people and I view and treat others accordingly“.

So let us celebrate the huge contributions we are all making every day, let us celebrate our African unity. Enjoy the celebrations everyone!