The title of this post is a real question that has been asked in real life. Real talk. Really. The easy answer, or in someone’s dry sense of humor, is that 4th of July in Africa falls on 4th of July as it does in any other continent/country. The people who ask this kind of question are the same as the ones who ask if you speak African and don’t know Africa is a continent with more countries than America has states. That’s ok though because I learnt a long time ago if I wanted to live long on this earth with low blood pressure levels that those people couldn’t anger me. They exist and most times the reason they ask questions like that isn’t their own fault. I don’t blame them. There are systems and institutions that come together to shape what information we not only have access to, but we end up giving a damn about. These shapers go back generations and are really hard to undo and unlearn.
So I was asking myself if there is in fact a holiday that is celebrated continent wide in Africa and the closest is Africa Day on May 25. It marks the founding of the Organization of African Unity in 1963 when 30 Independent African nations signed on in Addis Ababa. So yes it is a continent wide holiday, but it’s only observed by about 5 countries – Zimbabwe is one of them. Growing up in Zimbabwe I don’t remember ever celebrating it though. Even though we are a relatively young “country” – independence was gained in 1980, Mugabe is the kind of African visionary who would ensure its observance.
In short we do not have a 4th of July, we have May 25! HOWEVER, given the non-unity within and across borders, perhaps the OAU has a long way to go. What with new countries forming, old ones falling apart and others just lingering in non-progressive obscurity.
Not yet UHURU!