It is in Africa that man’s ancestors emerged for the first time The continent is also one of the cradles of world civilization. However, the introduction of the slave trade and the era of colonial conquests in later Years left the continent in ruins. Even today, the continent is still exposed to colonialism, neocolonialism, economic backwardness, exploitation, war and famine.
Thirty-two African countries which had already Won their independence during the 1950’s and the mid 1960’s, convinced that their independence alone would be incomplete unless the whole of Africa was liberated from the yokes of colonialism and racism, and aware of the need for a regional mechanism for devising joint development strategies for the peoples of the continent signed in Addis Ababa the Charter of the Organization of African Unity (0AU). Thus, the OAU was established on May 25, 1963. The Founding members were Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo, (Leopoldville), Dahomey, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Malagasy Republic, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger; Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanganyika, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Republic and Upper vollta.
The aims and objectives of the Organization of Africa Unity as indicated in the charter are to promote the unity and solidarity of African States, to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa, to defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, to eradicate all forms to colonialism from Africa as well as to foster international cooperation giving due regard to the charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of ‘Human Rights. In addition, the charter enjoins member states to coordinate and harmonize their policies in the political and diplomatic area, in the social and economic sphere as well as in other domains.
It is well recognized that since its inception the OAU has been exerting every effort to promote these noble objectives and it has also registered notable achievements in this regard. In this connection, the Organization has been able to resolve various conflicts, precipitated by external forces with the aim of creating division among its members and of challenging its very existence, peacefully. It has also enabled Africa to voice its collective opinion in the United Nations and other international forums and to coordinate the struggle against colonialism, imperialism, and racism.
The Silver Jubilee anniversary of the founding of this young Organization will be celebrated at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, at its regional and sub regional Offices and at the level of every member state. This occasion offers an opportunity to the Organization, from which much more is expected in the future, for assessing the work done so far and for formulating its future plans. The underlining theme of this celebration is the unity, solidarity, liberation and development of Africa.
In recognition of this important event, the Ethiopian Postal Service has issued a postage stamp. This postage stamp, entitled “let there be peace in Africa and the world” is a detail from the original complex of paintings by Maitre Afewerk Tekle entitled – African unity, freedom, and solidarity, cultural and economic prosperity and peace.