ZLHR statement on Africa Day

ON Africa Day, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) calls upon members of the public to join the rest of the African continent in celebrating the successes and progress made by the continent since the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union).

Africa Day is commemorated every year on 25 May and it is an
opportunity to reflect on progress and successes of the African
continent in the fight against the legacy of colonialism and unfair
discrimination. It is also an opportunity for African states to
reflect on the common challenges they face in today’s rapidly changing
world. The unique challenges brought about by globalisation require
greater cooperation among African states and Africa Day serves as a
reminder of the commitments made by the African Union (AU) towards
common African goals such as economic growth, regional peace and
social cohesion.

The AU’s theme for 2021 is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for
Building the Africa We Want”. The theme seeks to highlight the
importance of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in the
achievement of regional integration, inclusive and sustainable
economic growth and social development. The AU seeks to leverage
Africa’s rich culture and heritage in the mission of transforming the
continent and boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the
continent. The restoration and preservation of the continent’s rich
cultural heritage and diverse languages is also an integral part of
the theme for 2021. In addition, the theme serves as an indicator of
the AU member states’ commitment to investing more resources in
African culture and heritage as a means of achieving greater national
and regional cohesion. In addition, the investment in Africa’s
cultural heritage is an integral part of the AU’s plan for achieving
the national economic and social development goals outlined in
Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused untold suffering, losses and challenges
on the African continent but CCIs played a vital role in alleviating
its impact on the continent. CCIs were actively involved in preventing
and combatting the spread of the virus across the continent. The
pandemic highlighted the important role played by cultural workers in
raising awareness about the pandemic, encouraging compliance with
national and global health guidelines on how to prevent the spread of
the virus in communities and in combatting myths about the virus. The
important contributions of the CCIs helped to strengthen and protect
the health systems of African states from being overwhelmed by the
deadly virus. In addition, the work of cultural workers helped to
promote inclusion in the health sector and enhance access to health
services. The immense contributions of the CCIs during the pandemic
provide an opportunity for African states to reflect on how to include
cultural workers in coordinated plans for building resilient and
inclusive health systems.

On this Africa Day, ZLHR calls upon:

o    All members of the public to join the rest of the continent in
celebrating the successes and progress of the African continent to

o    The public to celebrate and honour cultural workers who played a
vital role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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