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AU turns 50 on Africa Day

Africa Day marks the 50th anniversary of the African Union, the day 32 states came together to unite.

Former President Thabo Mbeki is known for his "I am an African" speech. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Africa Day 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the African Union.

The day marks the quest for the unity of the continent and for political economic emancipation.

On this day in 1963 leaders of 32 independent African States signed the charter establishing the organisation for African unity.

In Africa many reflect on former President Thabo Mbeki's speech, I Am and African, which tells the story of the people of Africa.

"I am an African. I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land."

However, 17 years after this speech the continent is still plagued by issues like xenophobia, poverty and inequality.

These issues will continue to take centre stage as Africa embraces a continental identity in its growing relationship with developed and developing countries.