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Organization of African Unity: This Month in History

On May 25, 1963; the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was formed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This consisted of 32 African countries, which has increased by 21 over the years.

The OAU was committed to bringing about freedom and change to many African countries and restoring the dignity of African people. It was also dedicated to ridding Africa of all forms of colonialism. The 25th of May is now celebrated as Africa Day, and it marks the beginning of a quest for the unity of the continent along with the political and economic emancipation of its people, and cooperation amongst African countries.

In 2002, the OAU was replaced by the African Union (AU). This came about after leaders discussed the need amend the structure of the organization to reflect a changing world and accelerate the process of integration in Africa.

An important leader and one of the founding fathers of the OAU to remember during this time is Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah wanted a United States of Africa where Africa would be completely independent and separated from dependence on outside continents. Nkrumah established a series of conferences hosted in Accra between 1958 and 1960 with the intent of helping countries still under colonial rule, developing cultural and economic ties between African countries, and having discussions surrounding world peace. Nkrumah also hosted the All African People’s Conference which joined together liberation groups and African nationalist organizations.

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