Africa Day, which falls on 25 May, is usually a time of celebration of Africa’s diversity and vitality, and to promote African unity. This year marks the 57th anniversary of African leaders coming together from 22 to 25 May 1963 in Ethiopia to establish the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which later became African Union (AU) in 2002. However, this year’s celebration has been more muted due to COVID19.

In his Africa Day Message, the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa (UPCSA) General Secretary Rev Dr Lungile Mpetsheni acknowledged the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as international travel bans prevented UPCSA leadership from visiting and holding meetings in countries which UPCSA operates, among other disruptions.

In his message, the UPCSA General Secretary called on the church to “stand up and be strong” (Isaiah 52:1) as a reconciled community, to consolidate its position as a denomination of the Church existing in Africa, and be a blessing to Africans.

As they joined millions of other Africans in observing Africa Day, he expressed gratitude towards UPCSA congregations which have embarked on life-affirming programmes and projects by providing poverty relief schemes and pastoral support to those infected and affected by COVID-19, and encouraged them to continue to show support to those in the front line, especially health workers.