Established on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in an effort to re-stabilize the Motherland after having been divided, raped and exploited by European imperialists during the previous century’s Scramble for Africa, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) attempted to heal the wounds inflicted by the heartless, land-grabbing slave-makers. Initially, the Charter of the OAU was signed by 32 independent African states, and by the time it disbanded on July 9, 2002, all of Africa’s 54 nations, except Morocco, were included.
Ghana’s first prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah, also became the initial OAU president, advocating the Pan-African unifying principles.
The main objectives of the OAU were to eradicate the “bloodsucking capitalists” from its shores; promote unity and solidarity amongst African states; advocate and coordinate cooperation for economic and social development; safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its member states; and to act as a collective voice for Alkebulan (aka Africa).
As a cohesive unit, the OAU coordinated its members on matters of common concern to the continent–economic, political and social–and effectively defended its interests.
Additional aims included: ensuring that the human rights of the continent’s indigenous citizens were not violated, raising their living standards, diplomatically settling conflicts and border disputes between members to achieve greater unity and solidarity and ensuring the full participation of African peoples in governance.
“The OAU also implemented programs and strategies for self-development, self-reliance and cooperation among African countries. They have initiated collective action in increasing environmental protection, fighting international terrorism and combating the scourge of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, malaria and tuberculosis.
On July 17, 1964, Malcolm X, while attending an OAU meeting in Cairo, Egypt, announced how he fashioned his newly formed group after theirs before saying, “Just as the Organization of African Unity has called upon all African leaders to submerge their differences and unite on common objectives for the common good of all Africans, in America, the Organization of Afro-American Unity has called upon Afro-American leaders to submerge their differences and find areas of agreement wherein we can work in unity for the good of the entire 22 million African-Americans.”
The OAU played a pivotal part in efforts to eradicate colonialism and white minority rule in Africa. In 1997, OAU members established the African Economic Community, envisioned as an African common market.
The OAU paved the way for the establishment of the African Union (AU), which continued the vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa that’s driven by its own citizens and represents a dynamic force in the global arena.
“The OAU/AU is a work-in-progress … it’s a part of a continuous effort of African people to formulate and carry out that plan for liberation,” contends Dr. Leonard Jeffries, World African Diaspora Union president. “To have this emergence of these African nations, they have to be worked out in powerful regions, and the regions have to be linked up continentally.”
For more information, visit http://au.int/en.