For months, the Coalition of Supporters Unions of Africa (COSUA) has been working behind the scenes to organise Africa-wide support for the continent's six finalists to compete at the Fifa World Cup in South Africa next year. The launch ceremony will bring together representatives of all 53 African countries in a unique blend of the best-known personalities of African football and some of the continent's most powerful politicians, to mark the 49th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre in which the apartheid police slaughtered scores of Africans proresting against the hated "pass law" that prevented black South Africans from moving freely in their own country.
The slaughter at Sharpeville on 21 March 1960 kick-started the armed struggle against apartheid that eventually led to the collapse of the obnoxious system. It will be the first time in the history of South Africa that the rest of Africa will be joining them to commemorate Sharpeville Day, in a manner that the founding fathers of the Pan-Africanist Congress (which organised that 1960 march against the pass law), and the ruling African National Congress (ANC), now headed by Jacob Zuma, had never anticipated when they instituted 21 March as "Human Rights Day" and a major public holiday in South Africa.
COSUA, which has its 2010 operations based in South Africa, is the first such group in Africa to create and sustain an unprecedented social integration among millions of football fans in Africa's 53 countries.
A compelling aspect of the launch programme is the institution of the "Star of Africa" award as an annual feature of COSUA's delegate conference. The first four recipients of the award will be Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Muammar AlGathafi of Libya, Jerry Rawlings of Ghana and Dr Kwame Nkrumah, also of Ghana. According to the founding president of COSUA, Sarfo Abebrese, "the rationale behind the institution of the award is to remind our political leaders that the youth of Africa hold dear the tenets of Pan Africanism, peace, unity and development and would recognise the efforts of our leaders, past and present, to drive the continent to the achievement of these goals".
It is in terms of these criteria that COSUA rationalises the selection of the four recipients. …