All Africa Games History

All Africa games are also known as Pan Africa Games. This was a concept which was started way back in 1920 by the pioneer of Modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin. His idea of creating a platform for all the athletes in Africa countries was initially opposed by many people. The then colonial power were not quite sure about going ahead with this concept as they thought it may provoke the independence act from these countries.

Failed Attempts of All Africa Games

The starting of the All Africa Games (AAG) happened in 1925; rather you can call it as an attempt to start the AAG. In Algeria, the first attempt to conduct the AAG was initiated but was failed as there was massive opposition towards these games. The second attempt was in 1928 in Alexandria. This was again upheld by the same people who didn’t want these games to go forward. The unifying aspect of the Africas was something which the colonial powers were strictly against. This made the first to attempts a failure though all the preparations were made. Even the International Olympic Committee was encouraging this move and has donated considerable amount of funds to kick start these games.

Infancy of AAG

In the early 1960s, the first Africa games were witnessed by the world in which only the French speaking countries were allowed to participate. These games were termed as Friendship Games which were hosted by Madagascar (1960), Ivory Coast (1961) and Senegal in 1963. Before Senegal hosted the Friendship Games, there was a conference which was held by Africa Ministers of Youth and Sport in Paris, decided that these games would be called as Pan Africa Games.

In 1965, the world has seen the official All Africa Games being conducted in Brazzaville, Congo. By this time significant numbers of English speaking countries were already participating in the games. The IOC has made all the necessary efforts to recognize these games and have given official recognition to the games across the globe. AAG was considered to be on par with the other Commonwealth Games which were conducted all around the world.

Following Editions of AAG

The recognition alone did not solve the problems of AAG. It had its share of tough times in the infancy stages. In the first edition of AAG, around 2,500 athletes participated from 30 different Africa States. This showed how much the Africas valued the event and was also a very encouraging sight to the world of sports in Africa. Egypt became the first ever country to win the AAG. In the very next year the rise of SCSA (Supreme Council of Sport Africa) took place. They were the official governing body of AAG. But this came with its own price tag as the next edition of the AAG was upheld because of the internal politics.

The AAG which was supposed to be hosted by Mali in 1969 was cancelled because there were too many internal difficulties. Therefore the second host for AAG was shifted to Lagos. These games were scheduled to be conducted in 1971, but due to the Biafra War it was further delayed by 2 more years and the games were finally held in 1973. The long gap between the two events would have normally been depreciation in the number of participants. But this even was also a major success.

The third AAG was no better. Even this event kept the athletes on the bench for long time. Algeria was nominated as the host of AAG which was scheduled to be conducted in the year 1977. But due to technical reasons it was postponed to 1978. As this isn’t enough learning experience for the SCSA, the fourth AAG again saw a huge delay. Kenya which was the official host of the 4th AAG was supposed to conduct the games in 1983. It was invariably delayed to 1985 and finally after 2 years in 1987 it was held with Nairobi being the host.

That was the last hiccup which AAG has ever seen. Since then it was held religiously for every 4 year without any delay or problem. The latest AAG was held in South Africa in 2011.

All-Africa Games Previous Dates

Year Host City Dates
1965 Brazzaville July 18 – 25
1969 Bamako Disrupted by Military Coup
1973 Lagos January 7 – 18
1978 Algiers July 13 – 28
1987 Nairobi August 1 – 12
1991 Cairo September 20 - October 1
1995 Harare September 13 – 23
1999 Johannesburg September 10 – 19
2003 Abuja October 5 – 17
2007 Algiers July 11 – 23
2011 Maputo September 3 – 18
2015 Brazzaville September 4 − 19
2019 Luanda