Golden Jubilee : The youth of Burkina Faso takes stock of OAU/AU and envisages the future of African Unity

CBC Vue Gen2

May 25, 2013, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – The 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU was justly celebrated in the capital city of Burkina Faso. Gathered in a big theatre in the center of the city, in response to AU-SAFGRAD call in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Civil Society, an audience of several hundreds of  people discussed the theme Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance. Mainly comprising of young people among which many students and militants from Panafricanist associations, the participants have listened for more than four hours to half a dozen panelists mainly University professors and members of the civil society. The media, notably National Television, have attended the meeting in order to cover the event.

After the traditional Anthemns, respectively of Burkina Faso and African Union, the meeting started with the reading of the message of the President of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Dlamini Nkosazana ZUMA, on the occasion of OAU/AU golden Jubilee. Then, came the debates. Most probably motivated by the gender approach, Prof. Mahamadé Sawadogo from the University of Ouagadougou (UO), moderator of the debates, chose to honor the ladies panelists  by first giving them the floor.

In their interventions, Ms. Martine YABRE from civil society and Dr. Jocelyne VOKUMA, anthropologist and researcher, have emphasized on the decisive contribution of women to pan-Africanism, especially with the creation of the Pan-African women Organization (PAWO) far ahead of OAU. Border issues have been addressed by the Prof. Pierre Claver HIEN from the University of Ouagadougou whereas Prof. Abdoulaye SOMA, holder of an agregation in Constitutional law, showed off his early scholar learning by focusing his speech on « pan-Africanism and constitutional law ». As for the eminent Prof. Basile GUISSOU, Delegate General of the National Centre of Scientific Research and Technology (CNRST), he invited the young generation to be optimistic, despite the many challenges such as unemployment and poverty, and to perpetuate the legacy of the first generations of Pan-Africanists like Kwame Nkrumah, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Cheikh Anta Diop, etc. Last panelist to speak, historian Samuel SALO returned back to the origins of pan-Africanism as well as on the meaning of African Renaissance.

The communications of the speakers aroused a great interest from the participants as shown by the 30 persons who asked for the floor to intervene. Even if the debates were sometimes very passionate, the wisdom of the moderator and the mastery of the theme by the panelists finally got the better of the fieriness of the youth and enabled to properly channel the conference. It was around 6:30 p.m. when the conference ended on a general note of satisfaction from the participants. AU-SAFGRAD thanked one after the other the State of Burkina Faso, the Panafricanist associations, the various communicators and all the participants for their contributions to the success of this historic celebration. Government of Burkina Faso was represented by one of the Technical Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has accompanied the President of Faso to Addis Abeba.

This intellectual and inclusive meeting, targeting mainly youth, puts an end to a rich commemorative week of the OAU/AU golden jubilee in Ouagadougou. Festivities were marked by several highlights as the baptism of African Union Place or a country-cross running which gathered thousands of runners. Other activities are already planned throughout the year. They  include the baptism of another square in Bobo Dioulasso, inter-community football tournaments and public conferences throughout Burkina Faso.

More details: Summary report of CBC Meeting targetting Youth (pdf format)