ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Commission of the African Union (AU) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have partnered to promote peace across Africa during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. This year also marks the 50th Anniversary of AU’s predecessor, the OAU, and has been declared the year of “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”. The slogan of CAF during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, “Celebrate Africa”, aptly defines this important milestone and captures the mood in South Africa ahead of the tournament’s kick off.
A series of joint activities are lined-up before the start of the tournament and during the official opening ceremony, scheduled for Saturday, 19 January 2013, at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. The Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will participate in some key activities.
A children’s football match for peace will be played at a community football club in Alexandra Township, Gauteng province. Twenty two children from previously disadvantaged communities in the township have been selected to participate in the Make Peace Happen parade at the opening ceremony. In 2012, the symbolic Flame of Peace was lit by CAF in the presence of several Heads of State at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Libreville. This year, AU’s Peace Ambassador for the tournament, Oscar Pistorius, the four times Paralympic champion, popularly known as the blade runner, is the peace-torch bearer at the Flame of Peace ceremony.
Since 2010, the AU has used football to promote peace under the banner of the “Make Peace Happen” campaign in recognition of the fact that sport brings people together and that it can serve as a tool for social development. On 14 June 2012, the AU and CAF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to use the universal appeal of football as a platform to advocate and promote social change in Africa, through such initiatives as the “Make Peace Happen campaign.”
During this year’s tournament, the AU will join hands with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), OXFAM International and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD).
African Union Commission (AUC)