Bela Bela - Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale has warned leaders of African countries to protect themselves from Western politicians “who view the continent as a tool to perpetuate imperialist agendas”.
Mathale, who was addressing delegates during the Africa Day celebrations held in Bela Bela on Wednesday, applauded Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi as leaders who fought against Western oppression.
"From time immemorial, Africa has been viewed as a storehouse of raw material for the first world countries, in particular the Western forces," said Mathale.
"Offers to invest in the economy of the continent have been, in all respect, attached to heavy political strings, which are meant to further the current trends of the continent depending on the former colonial principals."
Celebrating African leaders
Mathale said the continent had good reason to celebrate its own great leaders, whom he said had left a legacy that deserved permanent recognition.
“It is on this note that we should dedicate this Africa Day celebration to all leaders of the African continent who fought against the colonisation of Africa against all odds.
"In this regard, we salute Patrice Lumumba, Samora Machel, Agostinho Neto, Eduardo Mondlane, Ahmed Ben Bella, Modibo Keita, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo Seretse Khama, Kenneth Kaunda, Albert Lutuli, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Jomo Kenyatta , Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Julius Nyerere, Amilcar Cabral, Muammar Gaddafi and Kgotsikgolo Moshoeshoe, among others," he said.
Ahmed Ben Bella
Ahmed Sekou Toure
“We must appreciate the fact that our continent has [gone] through many dark chapters. So it is proper not to celebrate this Africa Day in isolation.
“We must use our history of oppression, struggle, and economic exclusion to define the present and shape the future,” he said.
Mathale accused the West of planning, funding and sustaining some of the civil wars that have ravaged Africa for many years.
He said the "colonisers" were still persistent, refusing to afford Africa full independence and respect for the "sovereign rights" of each African country.
"In order to claim cheap political mileage, they stood up in numerous platforms praising themselves for building the continent and handing it back to indigenous people while they knew exactly what they were doing,” he said.
The premier also encouraged Africans to appreciate one another and reject all forms of xenophobia.
“First and foremost, as Africans we must be united before we can invite others to join in the unity. The sooner we accept that we must liberate ourselves from the situation we are presently in, some of which are not of our own making, the better,” Mathale said.
Africa Day is celebrated annually on May 25 to commemorate the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter of the OAU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The objective of Africa Day was to build a positive image of Africa.