THE UN RESIDENT COORDINATOR CELEBRATES THE 58TH AFRICA DAY WITH THE AFRICAN WOMEN’S PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
26 May 2021
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh attends the celebration of the Africa Day, hosted by the African Women’s Peace and Development Foundation
On the 25th of May, the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh attended the celebration of the Africa Day, hosted by the African Women’s Peace and Development Foundation (AWPDF), together with the Eswatini National Trust Commission. This year, Africa Day was celebrated under the theme “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa we Want”, after the African Union declared 2021 as the “AU Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage”.
The event featured live performances by Eswatini artists Sarnilo and Sandziso “Sands” Matsebula, showcasing of art by local artists, a museum tour, as well as a live panel discussion on “How Africa can benefit from enriching education with Arts, Culture and Heritage studies at early school levels”, with panel members including musician Mr. Sandziso Matsebula; traditional instrument player Ms. Thobile Makhoyane; retired school teacher Mrs. JM Dlamini; UNESCO Eswatini Secretary-General Ms. Phumzile Hlophe, and was moderated by Mr. Mlandvo Mamba from AWPDF.
The event, held at the Eswatini National Museum, marked the 58th celebration of Africa Day in remembrance of the same date in May of 1963, when Africa made history with the creation - by 32 nations - of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which is now the African Union (AU) comprised of 55 Member States.
As Africa Day is celebrated in all African countries and the entire diaspora, the continent continues to grapple with many challenges ranging from armed conflict, extreme poverty, inequalities and discriminations, climate change and health pandemics, including HIV&AIDS, malaria and of course the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on all aspects of our lives.
The UN Resident Coordinator, noted in her remarks that the theme for the 2021 celebration “comes at an opportune time when altogether, we are looking for ways and avenues to realize the continental promises of the OAU founding fathers and to build back better from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the AU shared values for peace, human dignity, human rights, gender equality, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, justice, and solidarity”.
The UNRC highlighted the fact that arts, culture and heritage play a significant role in uniting and bringing people together in times of peace as in times of great distress such as this one and emphasized the critical role played by the world’s cultural and creative industries, including their contributions to GDPs. She stated that “Indeed, creative industries and cultural infrastructure contribute significantly to livelihoods, particularly in developing nations on the African continent. It is worth noting in this regard that a significant portion of those employed within creative and cultural industries in Africa are women. Arts therefore advance SDG 5 on Gender Equality”.
The UNRC concluded by reiterating the commitment of the UN in Eswatini to achieving both AU Agenda 2063 and SDG Agenda 2030 through solidarity with the Government, partners and all stakeholders, including artists, and creative and cultural industries.