May 25th, 2023 – Gauteng, South Africa – In a poignant address delivered today at the Cradle of Humankind, President Cyril Ramaphosa marked Africa Day with a call for unity, progress, and the celebration of Africa’s rich history and promising future. The symbolic location, where our earliest human ancestors once walked, served as a powerful reminder of Africa’s profound heritage.
President Ramaphosa spoke passionately about Africa’s indomitable spirit, highlighting the continent’s resilience in the face of adversity throughout history. Despite enduring colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and various acts of barbarism, Africa has prevailed, securing its liberty and independence. The President emphasized that Africans now rule their own lands, reclaiming sovereignty over their resources and destinies.
Reflecting on Pixley ka isaka Seme’s lecture over a century ago, titled “The Regeneration of Africa,” President Ramaphosa reiterated the enduring inspiration found in Africa’s ancestral greatness, unimpaired genius, and recuperative power. He underscored the significance of Africa Day as a reminder of Africa’s ability to overcome challenges and celebrate unity as a continent.
The President acknowledged the tremendous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa, with the continent initially facing well-founded fears of devastation due to low levels of development. However, Africa emerged stronger due to its collective response and unity. The African Union swiftly developed a continental response strategy, establishing groundbreaking platforms for procuring medical supplies and mobilizing resources to combat the pandemic. Moreover, Africa prioritized technology transfer, highlighting the importance of nurturing its own capabilities.
[Photos] President Cyril Ramaphosa arriving at Maropeng Cradle of Humankind in Krugersdorp, received by the Premier of Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa and the Mayor of Mogale City, Cllr Danny Thupane, to celebrate #AfricaDay2023 pic.twitter.com/0gC3FxbfmV— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) May 25, 2023
President Ramaphosa praised the outstanding expertise of African scientists, who played a vital role in guiding countries’ responses and conducting groundbreaking research. African researchers, including those in South Africa, detected new variants of the coronavirus, demonstrating the continent’s scientific prowess. The pandemic served as a powerful lesson, emphasizing the importance of valuing and developing Africa’s own capabilities.
As Africa commemorates 60 years since the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union, President Ramaphosa reiterated the relevance of the OAU charter’s founding principles. He stressed the need to harness Africa’s natural and human resources for the advancement of all Africans, promoting understanding and solidarity among African countries, and resisting neocolonialism in all its forms.
Despite the continent’s achievements, President Ramaphosa acknowledged the challenges that still persist. He highlighted the ongoing battles for control over Africa’s resources, which fuel conflicts, instability, and terrorism. The President also called attention to the unscrupulous conduct of certain multinational companies, negatively impacting human health and the environment. He further expressed concern over divisions sown between communities and the persecution faced by individuals based on gender, ethnicity, language, religion, or sexual orientation in some regions of Africa.
#AfricaDay2023 | President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering a keynote address at the national #AfricaDay celebrations at the Cradle of Humankind in Krugersdorp. https://t.co/hzaqVrqy16 pic.twitter.com/RdavUC2SFX— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) May 25, 2023
Additionally, President Ramaphosa addressed Africa’s stance on international relations, stressing that Africa would not be drawn into contests between global powers. Guided by historical lessons, South Africa remains committed to an independent and non-aligned foreign policy, focusing on peacebuilding and resolving conflicts within the continent. The President reaffirmed Africa’s dedication to achieving continental economic integration, emphasizing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a significant milestone.
President Ramaphosa concluded his address by calling for the consolidation of democracy, good governance, and the pursuit of sustainable development goals across Africa. He urged South Africans and Africans as a whole to uphold the values of respect, empathy, and coexistence, fostering unity and strength through diversity.
On Africa Day, let us remember Africa’s past, celebrate its present, and work towards a prosperous and united future. As President Ramaphosa stated, “Our Africanness is our respect for our many differences, our empathy and compassion for those less fortunate, and our capacity to strive for coexistence, even with those who have wronged us.”
Africa, as a continent, stands strong, resilient, and united.