ON Africa Day, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) calls upon members of the public to join the rest of the African continent in celebrating the successes and progress made by the continent since the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union).
Africa Day is commemorated every year on 25 May and it is an opportunity to reflect on progress and successes of the African continent in the fight against the legacy of colonialism and unfair discrimination.
It is also an opportunity for African states to reflect on the common challenges they face in today’s rapidly changing world.
The unique challenges brought about by globalisation require greater cooperation among African states and Africa Day serves as a reminder of the commitments made by the African Union (AU) towards common African goals such as economic growth, regional peace and social cohesion.
The AU’s theme for 2021 is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”. The theme seeks to highlight the importance of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in the achievement of regional integration, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and social development.
The AU seeks to leverage Africa’s rich culture and heritage in the mission of transforming the continent and boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the continent.
The restoration and preservation of the continent’s rich cultural heritage and diverse languages is also an integral part of the theme for 2021
. In addition, the theme serves as an indicator of the AU member states’ commitment to investing more resources in African culture and heritage as a means of achieving greater national and regional cohesion. In addition, the investment in Africa’s cultural heritage is an integral part of the AU’s plan for achieving the national economic and social development goals outlined in Africa’s Agenda 2063.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused untold suffering, losses and challenges on the African continent but CCIs played a vital role in alleviating its impact on the continent.
CCIs were actively involved in preventing and combatting the spread of the virus across the continent. The
pandemic highlighted the important role played by cultural workers in raising awareness about the pandemic, encouraging compliance with national and global health guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the virus in communities and in combatting myths about the virus.
The important contributions of the CCIs helped to strengthen and protect the health systems of African states from being overwhelmed by the deadly virus.
In addition, the work of cultural workers helped to promote inclusion in the health sector and enhance access to health services.
The immense contributions of the CCIs during the pandemic provide an opportunity for African states to reflect on how to include cultural workers in coordinated plans for building resilient and inclusive health systems.
On this Africa Day, ZLHR calls upon:
o All members of the public to join the rest of the continent in celebrating the successes and progress of the African continent to date;
o The public to celebrate and honour cultural workers who played a vital role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.