South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a powerful message on Africa Day, firmly rejecting any attempts to drag African countries into global conflicts and reaffirming their commitment to a non-aligned foreign policy. Speaking at the cradle of humankind in Krugersdorp, Ramaphosa emphasized that Africa should not be forced to choose sides in battles that extend beyond its borders.
While he did not explicitly mention the Ukraine-Russia War, Ramaphosa has previously made it clear that South Africa will not take sides in that conflict. Instead, he stressed the importance of upholding the principles outlined in the founding charter of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which called for safeguarding independence, respecting sovereignty, and resisting neo-colonialism.
The president highlighted the painful history of Africa being caught in proxy wars waged by foreign superpowers. He emphasized the brutal legacy of colonization and being treated as pawns during the Cold War. Ramaphosa adamantly stated that South Africa will not be drawn into a contest between global powers and will maintain its position on peaceful conflict resolution wherever it occurs.
Drawing from the lessons of history, Ramaphosa underscored the need to uphold an independent and non-aligned foreign policy. He acknowledged Africa’s struggles against resource plundering and the triumph of gaining self-rule. Despite conquest, colonialism, and other acts of barbarism, the continent has persevered.
The president also highlighted the collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a testament to African integration and resilience. He praised the capacity and expertise that exists within the continent, emphasizing that Africa has the means and political will to develop and implement solutions to its challenges.
Ramaphosa’s speech on Africa Day sends a clear message that South Africa will not be swayed by external pressures to abandon its non-aligned stance. It reaffirms the commitment to safeguarding African independence and promoting peaceful resolutions to conflicts. By invoking the founding principles of the OAU, Ramaphosa emphasizes the need to resist neo-colonial influences and protect Africa’s sovereignty.
As the continent commemorates 60 years since the establishment of the OAU, Ramaphosa’s words serve as a reminder of Africa’s journey toward freedom and self-determination. It is a call to maintain unity, uphold independence, and continue working towards a prosperous and integrated Africa.