As Africa Day is being celebrated across the continent on Friday, the NGO for the rights of refugees, People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop), says there is no reason to celebrate the day.
The NGO believes refugees and asylum seekers are treated as criminals and not able to access the rights they are entitled to.
Passop spokesperson Thandia Bhiza says women and children are suffering and endure severe hunger at the repatriation centres.
Bhiza says there is a need to instill a spirit of genuine Pan- Africanism among all South Africans. She believes that nothing has changed since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963.
“I do not know, I really do not know what kind of Africa are we going to celebrate. With me I do not think I am going to celebrate Africa Day. I cannot celebrate because I have a refugee status. I cannot celebrate because my other African brothers there are being arrested because of the documentation issue.”
It was on this day in 1963 that the first pan-African organisation after independence, the Organisation of African Unity, was formed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The organisation was founded by thirty-two countries. A further 21 states have joined gradually over the years, with South Africa becoming the 53rd member in May 1994. The OAU was committed to helping bring about change and freedom to many African countries and restore dignity of African people. In 2002 the OAU was dissolved and was replaced by the African Union (AU).
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