Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the African Union, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 25th May, 1963.
Africa Day is celebrated around the world and is an opportunity to appreciate and mark the African continent’s diverse history and heritage while acknowledging its cultural and economic potential. The community of people of African descent in Ireland is itself diverse and diffuse. According to the 2016 census, Ireland was home to people from 50 African countries.
The Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “In Clare, Africa Day represents an opportunity to acknowledge a diverse and important group of people who enrich and make a valuable contribution to Irish society.” The Cathaoirleach, along with members of Clare’s African Irish community, planted a tree this year as part of the celebrations to symbolise the deepening roots of those living in County Clare.
The positive impact and influence of Ireland’s African communities is evidenced across many aspects of life in County Clare, not least the worlds of art and culture, music, literature, sport, business, food and community development. Amanda Major, Public Relations Officer of the Association of Nigerian Community in Clare (ANCC), said: “Celebrating Africa Day is the celebration of all Africans that have strived to be the best version of themselves despite the injustice and struggles. Africans still have hope that one day Africa the motherland will be seen for who she really is.”
Orla Ní Éilí of the Clare Immigrant Support Centre (CISC) said: “Over the past number of years, County Clare has marked Africa Day both as a celebration and an opportunity to share thoughts on integration, trade, true development and human rights. Gatherings have taken place in previous years, in various settings with a sharing of food, music, dance customs and insights into furthering integration and fair trade and sustainable development. There is great value to the contribution of the African Irish community to Clare life at all levels.”
This year, in the absence of a live event, Clare County Council, in collaboration with the Association of Nigerian Community in Clare and the Clare Immigrant Support Centre, has created a virtual event that can be viewed on Clare County Council’s YouTube channel. The video contains a wide variety of content sharing the African Irish culture here in Clare.
The video production is sponsored by Irish Aid. Through this digital approach, Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs hopes to highlight the vibrancy that members of the African community bring to Ireland, including their own individual talents, crafts, skills and other contributions, which previously would have been showcased at in-person events.