The Organisation of African Unity is formed and Africa Day is declared

Africa Union Flag Image source

Saturday, 25 May 1963

On 25 May, 1963, the first African organisation after independence, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) 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 on 23 May 1994. The OAU started its operations on 13 September, 1963, when its Charter was adopted.

The OAU was committed to helping bring about change and freedom to many African countries and restore dignity of African people. The 25th May, now celebrated as Africa Day, marks the beginning of a quest for the unity of the continent and for the political and economic emancipation of its people as well as co-operation among them.  It is at this historic meeting that the date of Africa Freedom Day was changed from April 15th to May 25th. In 2002 the OAU was dissolved and was replaced by the African Union (AU).

• ‘Organization of African Unity (OAU)’, from [online], Available at [Accessed: 26 April 2012]
• ‘Organisation of African Unity’, from South African History Online, [online], Available at [Accessed: 26 April 2012]
• ‘First celebration of Africa Day’, from South African History Online, [online], available at [Accessed: 25 April 2012]

Last updated : 20-May-2016

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-May-2012

Support South African History Online

Donate and Make African History Matter

South African History Online is a non profit organisation. We depend on public support to build our website into the most comprehensive educational resource and encyclopaedia on African history.

Your support will help us to build and maintain partnerships with educational institutions in order to strengthen teaching, research and free access to our content.