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Here’s what these ONE Champions want you to know about Africa Day

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Africa Day is an annual celebration of African unity and marks the foundation of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) in 1963. For many people across Africa and around the world, it is a time to remember the struggles against colonialism and apartheid and look to the future.

To mark the day, we spoke with some of our amazing 2019 ONE Champions in Nigeria and Senegal. Here they’re sharing what Africa Day means to them.

Chidinma Ibemere, Nigeria

ONE Nigeria Champion, Chidinma Ibemere

ONE Champion, Nigeria, Chidinma Ibemere

“The words of Jomo Kenyatta sums up the essence of Africa Day: ‘Our children may learn about our heroes past. Our task is to make ourselves architects of the future’. The Africa we want is not limited by borders, but inspired by the need to begin the journey into the future, where the narrative of Africa is told by Africans for Africans.”

Jerry Azilinon, Senegal

ONE Senegal Champion, Jerry Azilinon

ONE Champion, Senegal, Jerry Azilinon

“Beyond the celebration of the continent, Africa Day is an opportunity to stop and take stock of the social challenges that we face and think about how we can eradicate them. The issue of women’s rights is more urgent than ever, the urgency must not be limited to indignation: it must translate into common actions and commitments to make our Africa a framework for the emancipation, education and development of all girls and women.”

Melanie Tejiri idehen, Nigeria

ONE Nigeria Champion, Melanie Tejiri idehen

ONE Champion, Nigeria, Melanie Tejiri idehen

“Africa Day for me, is a celebration of the beauty that lies in being African. It is one of those special days when we have the opportunity to show the world Africa from our eyes: a continent of immense resources, potential, diverse culture, resilient people and loving communities. Most importantly, it’s a day when I renew my vow to contribute to shaping an Africa we can be proud to call home.”

Mohamed Fadel Diop, Senegal

ONE Senegal Champion, Mohamed Fadel Diop

ONE Champion, Senegal, Mohamed Fadel Diop

“Africa has long suffered from… negative narratives, images and clichés that hide its potential from the world. We must work every day to rectify this bad press… I believe that Africa Day is a moment to echo in chorus all the stories that make the continent shine.”

Jaly Badiane, Senegal

ONE Senegal Champion, Jaly Badiane

ONE Champion, Senegal, Jaly Badiane

“This continent that is so dear to me is the future of the world. People come to Africa every day, from all across the globe because it has become the promised land. However, we Africans have yet to realise the potential of what we have. Africa Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves that we need to value our continent more, believe in it and above all develop it!”

Nehemiah Yadlima, Nigeria

ONE Nigeria Champion, Nehemiah Yadlima

ONE Champion, Nigeria, Nehemiah Yadlima

“Africa Day, for me is a time to revel in the uniqueness of being a person of colour, in a culture with a diverse heritage and pride. We have emerged from darkness to create sunshine… It is a moment to reflect on… who we are…”

Maryam Ahmad, Nigeria

ONE Nigeria Champion, Maryam Ahmad

ONE Champion, Nigeria, Maryam Ahmad

“Brown, black or white, Africa Day is a celebration of diversity and a call to unity for the continent… 54 nations in various stages of achieving the Pan-African dream. The hands of our people held out to one another to help… create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle for everyone. Our future is before us, it’s bright, beautiful and rich and within the reach of our collective grasp.”

Augustine Emmanuel, Nigeria

ONE Nigeria Champion, Augustine Emmanuel

ONE Champion, Nigeria, Augustine Emmanuel

“Africa occupies an important part in human history, it’s the cradle of life. Celebrating Africa Day means celebrating our humanity and ONEness as a human race. It is a symbol of hope to the many Africans living in extreme poverty, a day to highlight the bright future that awaits Africa, a future with no one living in extreme poverty.”

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