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The OAU was founded in May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by 32 African states with the main aim of bringing the African nations together and resolve the issues within the continent. Its first ever conference was held on 1st May 1963 at Addis Ababa. In that conference, the late Gambia historian, and one of the leading Gambian nationalists and Pan-Africanists at the time—Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof delivered a speech in front of the member states—in which he said:
- "It is barely 75 years when the European Powers sat round the table in Germany each holding a dagger to carve up Africa for its own benefit.… Your success will inspire and speed up the freedom and total independence of the African continent and eradicate imperialism and colonialism from the continent and eventually neo-colonialism from the globe… Your failure, which no true African in Africa is praying for, will prolong our struggle with bitterness and disappointment. I therefore adjure that you ignore any suggestion outside Africa and holding that the present civilization, which some of the big powered are boasting of, sprang up from Africa, and realising that the entire world has something earthly to learn from Africa, you would endeavour your utmost to come to agreement, save Africa from the clutches of neo-colonialism and resurrect African dignity, manhood and national stability."