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25th May is Africa Day, author Dr Nat Tanoh explains what this day means to him

25thMay 2018 is Africa Unity Day

Author Dr Nat Tanoh, who was exiled from Ghana as a child to live in England, shares what Africa Day means to him and his family...

By Dr Nat Tanoh, author of The Day Of The Orphan, released on May 25th(Africa Day)


The Day Of The Orphan is available online and in all good bookshops as a paperback and eBook (£10.99).


Online press folder including a PDF of the book, press releases and photos:


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Africa Unity day commemorates the founding, on 25 May 1963, of what has now become the African Union, the hoped-for African equivalent of the European Union. Just like the latter, much of its driving aspiration was, and remains, the ambition to promote and attain equality, mutual respect and progress through transcendence across the immense diversity of the world's second largest continent. 


The difference, however, is that for the African states that wanted to come together, these were countries that had newly attained nationhood, a state of affairs which in itself already constituted remarkable transcendence of the destructive barbarism of Slavery and of the Colonialism which followed it.


Colonialism, of course, was a project systemically dependent on 'divide and rule' and the arbitrary creation of entities that reflected imperial spheres of influence more than anything else. Indeed, the world is still witness to the profound scars of the daunting legacies of these histories.


Africa Union Day thus represents an enduring triumph against the worst horrors of that legacy. The day is a beacon for African people staking their claim as equals of all the peoples of the world. It represents in the truest sense of equality, that the continent and her peoples have much to contribute, to share and to teach all who aspire to realise the best for our human collective and our shared homestead and heritage.


In recent history, part of what Africa Union Day allowed us to contribute as a restless, indomitable force in the face of the most adverse and dehumanising of experience and circumstance - was the absolute refusal to live with the racism of apartheid. This was a refusal that came to inspire and galvanise every corner of the globe. And it is within such dignified refusal that lies the surest foundations for building bridges around common concerns and transformative triumphs.


Indeed, part of what we share today is the humility born of our deep recognition and respect for the fulfilment that arises from co-dependence - especially in our relationship with the earth, nature, the environment and the upholding of community.


That is why for me and my family, Africa Day is a reminder of the joy of life and sharing with every, and all. Yet ,it is as much a call, to continue with the far-from finished mission of attaining a world of peace, love, solidarity and sharing. And Africa Day is also a taproot to keep searching, finding and burnishing the inspiration that will get us there. We will eat, dance, relive history, reflect on where we are going and renew commitments with regard to what is to be done to get us there.


Unlike the European Union - Africa remains some way off in attaining the unity which will dramatically translate into better lives for the millions that populate the continent. The divisiveness engendered by colonialism remains ingrained. But it is a work in progress with many governments and good people working toward its attainment. The point is to never give up, with each contributing in his or her own way to ensure eventual realisation in the not too distant future.


My novelThe Day Of The Orphanaddresses many challenges that most African countries continue to face or have faced in their recent histories. It is almost as though the fictional country I created is a generic representation of the many challenges being faced. But it is equally a representation of the many, both young and not so young, who rise up to meet these challenges head on, in their honest, selfless and dedicated attempts to create betteregalitarian and inclusive societies for themselves and in a fashion that could be replicated across the wider continent in service of unity.


Dr. Nat Tanoh