Tracing the legacy and evolution of the All Africa Games

Stories and facts

The African Games is a quadrennial continental multi-sporting event that is held by the African Union (AU) in collaboration with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC).

Participation is exclusive to nations within the African continent. Inaugurated in 1965 in Brazzaville, Congo, these Games gained official recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a continental multi-sport event, alongside the Asian and Pan American Games. Since 1999, the Games have integrated athletes with disabilities.

Initially overseen by the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA), a shift occurred in 2013, when its functions were transferred to the African Union Commission, Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa(ANOCA), and the Association of African Sports Confederation(AASC), each handling distinct aspects of management.

In 2012, during an Executive Council meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it was decided to rename the event to the African Games, marking a transition from the previous name, the All-Africa Games. The latest edition in Morocco in 2019 saw participation from 54 nations.

Historically, The concept of the Pan African Games was conceived by Pierre de Coubertin, who was the founder of the modern Olympics in 1920. However, colonial powers ruling Africa at the time opposed the idea, because they felt threatened by its potential to foster African unity and independence.

Efforts to host the games in Algiers, Algeria (1925), and Alexandria, Egypt (1928) proved to be futile despite substantial preparations. The International Olympic Committee's first African member, who was Greek-born Egyptian sprinter Angelo Bolanaki, contributed to stadium construction, yet the Games faced delays for three decades.

After almost four decades, from its original inception, Congo, Brazzaville hosted the inaugural games in July 1965, attracting around 2,500 athletes from 30 countries, with Egypt leading the medal tally. Subsequent editions experienced logistical challenges, such as Mali's cancellation due to a coup in 1969 and Nigeria's delay in 1971 due to the Biafra War.

The Games have since followed a quadrennial schedule, rotating among various host cities including Cairo, Harare, Johannesburg, and Abuja. Algiers repeated as host in 2007, with Maputo, Mozambique hosting in 2011 and Brazzaville commemorating the Games' 50th anniversary in 2015.

In terms of participation, All 53 members of ANOCA are eligible to participate. Historically, these Games have seen representation from all 53 National Olympic Committees. Notably, South Africa who were banned for 30 years from 1965 to 1995 due to Apartheid, while Morocco's participation was suspended from 1987 to 2015 due to political tensions over the Western Sahara. However, Morocco's return to the African Games in 2019, hosted in Rabat, signaled a diplomatic breakthrough.

With the next event set to take place soon, Ghana is privileged to host the next edition of the African Games in Accra this year. As one of the founding members of the African Games, Ghana will hold this privilege in high esteem as this would be the first time the nation is hosting this legendary sports event.



Be the first to leave a comment!