1963: African states unite against white rule


Africa Hall, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Site of the First OAU Meeting, 1963. 
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The African summit conference ended today in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, with an agreement from all delegates to found an Organisation of African Unity.

Its primary aim will be to “decolonise” the remaining bastions of white rule in Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.

It plans to support African “freedom fighters” with finance, arms, volunteers and training bases and to close off their airspace to colonial forces.

Heads of state were urged to impose sanctions on South Africa and break off diplomatic relations. The conference also expressed concern about racial discrimination in the United States.

May this convention of union last 1,000 years: Emperor Halie Selassie

On This Day 25051963The OAU charter also states it will co-ordinate efforts to raise the standard of living of member states and defend their sovereignty. But its aim is to guide rather than lead an Africa that is still finding its feet.

The organisation has four main institutions – an annual assembly of heads of state, a council of ministers a general secretariat and a commission of mediation, conciliation and arbitration. Addis Ababa will be the headquarters.

The conference host, 71-year-old Emperor Halie Selassie, has spent a year preparing his city for the summit of African nations which represents a total population of 200 million people.

He told delegates: “May this convention of union last 1,000 years.” His 2,000 guests were then treated to a lavish banquet.

The charter will be signed tomorrow morning by all but Morocco which sent an observer instead of an official because of the presence of Mauritania with which it has a border dispute.

Source: BBC


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