Internation African Day in Brazil

by André Brayner Vitorino*

In 1972, the United Nations (UN) instituted the International African Day, in memorial of the struggle for the African people to get their emancipation and independence. May 25th was selected for that day as it coincides with the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a regional integration body constituted by 32 independent African governments. The body was afterwards succeeded by the creation of the African Union. It promotes the unity and solidarity among the African nations and defends their sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the independence of the African nations and the eradication of all forms of colonialism in Africa, constituted by the pillars of the UN subsidizing the reasons for this memory throughout the entire world, including the Brazilian territory.

The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 chose as one of its principles the international relations for the self-determination of the people and cooperation among the people to favor humanitarian progress, clearly guiding the Government to be capable of fomenting solidarity and the prevalence of compatible values towards a free Africa. Thus, we celebrate on May 25th in Brazil, which is enough for these reasons, but in fact, there is so much in common between Brazil and Africa than just the ocean that separates us’. The shared history, beginning by the forced shipment of African people to Brazil, that memory, culture, and knowledge that hybridized the cultures of the people who reside here. Nowadays, there is much more on the agenda than ever before in discussions on rights and government policies specifically for Afro-descendant people, especially regarding the fight against racism, reparation of the Afro-descendent people, and the right to exercise their cultural manifestations. In this context, this date serves for the celebration of the wealth brought by the African people to Brazil and serves as a basis for reflecting on partnerships and future cooperative efforts. May 25th,must make Brazilian remember a more optimistic and realistic view on the African continent: extreme poverty is declining, income is growing and there have been important progress in fighting against mortal diseases. Several African countries are among those which are the fastest growing in the world, challenging the global recession, and as a consequence more international investors are arriving on the continent. Finally, the general path towards Africa is clear-cut. Africans are writing a new narrative of its history.

*Speacilist in International Law and Third Sector