Category : Africa

(BBC) Yeterday Uganda schools reopened after almost two years of Covid closure

Children in Uganda have expressed their joy at finally returning to school nearly two years after they were closed because of Covid.

“I am really excited because it’s been a long time without seeing our teachers. And we have missed out a lot,” Joel Tumusiime told the BBC.

“I am glad to be back at school,” echoed another, Mercy Angel Kebirungi.

But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities warned at least 30% of students may never return.

Some have started work, while others have become pregnant or married early, the country’s national planning authority said.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Uganda

(AP) Case drop may show South Africa’s omicron peak has passed

South Africa’s noticeable drop in new COVID-19 cases in recent days may signal that the country’s dramatic omicron-driven surge has passed its peak, medical experts say.

Daily virus case counts are notoriously unreliable, as they can be affected by uneven testing, reporting delays and other fluctuations. But they are offering one tantalizing hint — far from conclusive yet — that omicron infections may recede quickly after a ferocious spike.

South Africa has been at the forefront of the omicron wave and the world is watching for any signs of how it may play out there to try to understand what may be in store.

After hitting a high of nearly 27,000 new cases nationwide on Thursday, the numbers dropped to about 15,424 on Tuesday. In Gauteng province — South Africa’s most populous with 16 million people, including the largest city, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria — the decrease started earlier and has continued.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, South Africa

(EF) African theologians Harvey Kwiyani and Abraham Waigi assess Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s harsh criticism of the increasing influence of churches on the continent

Having expanded as a civilising religion during the era of European colonialism, the growth of Christianity in Africa in the decades after the 1960s has revealed a tendency to reject European patronage, choosing either to ‘pentecostalise’ (to various extents) and, following American-styled expressions of Christianity, to globalise or to embrace a new identity as independent African denominations.

This globalisation of African Christianity has been influenced greatly by American Evangelicalism and with this came the legitimisation of celebrity-styled preachers and the prosperity gospel which has, in turn, led to some African evangelical and Pentecostal preachers using fear to dominate and exploit vulnerable people.

In Western discourses on African Christianity, these prosperity-preaching ministries dominate the conversation. However, a majority of African Christians, especially in rural Africa, have no clue what it is.

Soyinka is against charlatanism, fundamentalism and extremism in religion. He has written and spoken at length about what he perceives as the imperialist tendencies in the two leading religions. He gives many examples of abuse of power and the weaponisation of fear in his creative writings as well as in newspaper articles, lectures (particularly the 2004 BBC Reith Lectures that resulted in his book, Climate of Fear), and other works.

What is particularly troubling here is his tendency to demonise all religion without acknowledging the good that it stands for.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology

(Washington Post) ‘Last on the rung’: Africa deals with fallout from a ‘Made in the USA’ supply chain crisis

With U.S. retailers willing to pay almost any price to get their goods to American shores in time for the holidays, ocean carriers have redeployed container ships from the developing world to the more lucrative Asia-to-United States trade lanes, where rates for some shipments this fall were 15 times pre-pandemic levels, according to the Freightos index.

That’s helped fill American store shelves — and carriers’ coffers — but it has battered many African shippers, according to interviews with more than 30 maritime analysts, shippers, freight forwarders and cargo carriers in the United States, Africa and elsewhere.

Already lagging in coronavirus vaccinations, Africa risks becoming collateral damage in the supply wars. The International Monetary Fund says the 45 nations of sub-Saharan Africa are mired in the slowest economic recovery of any region, with supply chain disruptions helping fuel inflation at roughly twice its pre-pandemic level.

“Africa, sadly, I can’t think of any other continent that is last on the rung. Africa will be the last to come out of this,” [Aditya] Awtani said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Africa, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Kenya

A Fantastic London Times Profile Piece on Congolese Doctor and Pentecostal Pastor Denis Mukwege

In the past seven years tens of thousands of Yazidis kept as sex slaves by Isis fighters, girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Rohingya women dragged from their huts and gang-raped by Burmese soldiers, have courageously come forward and told their stories, yet there has only been a single prosecution.

No one is better qualified to write about the situation than this astonishingly brave Congolese gynaecological surgeon. His Panzi hospital in eastern Congo has treated more than 60,000 raped women and girls over the past 20 years. Some arrive so damaged that he has carried out multiple operations to try to reconstruct them.

One of the most heroic men I have ever met, Mukwege literally risks his life to save women. After a series of threats and assassination attempts, he lives almost as a prisoner on the hospital site, guarded by UN peacekeepers.

Far from being supported by the Congolese state, he does all of this in the face of a government so craven it tried to fine him $20,000 for collecting rainwater on the hospital roof, insisting that rain belongs to the state.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Africa, Books, Health & Medicine, Republic of Congo, Sexuality, Terrorism, Violence, Women

(CT) Acher Niyonizigiye–Joseph’s Simplicity Was Actually Spiritual Maturity

But to Joseph, Mary’s perceived sin did not make her an outcast. He knew she deserved love and protection. The NIV beautifully combines Joseph’s Jewish religious culture and his personal spirituality in one sentence: “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:19).

Here, we see that Joseph isn’t the grumpy, emasculated husband of Christmas legend. Even before he received God’s message about Jesus, Joseph’s demonstrated love for Mary and his commitment to protect her dignity overpowered any legalism. Joseph’s behavior portrays genuine masculinity and Bible-certified righteousness.

The situation, of course, isn’t what he had first imagined. In a dream, an angel told him Mary’s pregnancy was of divine origin. Joseph dismissed his previous plans and agreed to obey just as quickly and simply as Mary had accepted that she was pregnant before marriage (Matt. 1:24; Luke 1:38).

Such a positive response to such a difficult and risky circumstance would have been impossible in a spiritually dull, legalistic mind. A legalistic man might have quickly dismissed the angel’s message as hallucination, as it seemed to contradict the law. Joseph’s spirituality was of such a kind that he was able to value the will of the lawgiver more than the law, something that eluded many sophisticated theologians and religious leaders (Matt. 15:3–9), not to mention Jesus’ disciples.

Read it all.

Posted in Advent, Anthropology, Burundi, Christmas, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) ‘They’re killing us slowly’: sandstorms and drought stalk Madagascar

The mother of four shakes the grubby plastic jerry can and sighs. “It’s not really enough,” she says, gesturing first to the almost empty five litre container, then the skinny children peering through the doorway. “But it has to be enough for now.”

Not so long ago, water was plentiful in this hot and arid part of southern Madagascar, an island some 250 miles off the coast of Africa. Then the drought descended.

In the last two to three years the price of water has jumped 300 per cent, in a region where 91 per cent of people earn less than $1.90 a day. Incomes here are inconsistent at best, but a family selling two to three bags of charcoal a month could expect to earn between 20,000 and 30,000 Malagasy ariary – $5 to $7.50.

Horariby and her children have a choice: they either trudge 12 kilometres on foot to collect water from the nearest large town, or buy it at twice the price from a cattle drawn cart that comes to her village, piled high with yellow jerry cans.

Read it all 9subscription).

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Madagascar

(WSJ) China Seeks First Military Base on Africa’s Atlantic Coast, U.S. Intelligence Finds

Classified American intelligence reports suggest China intends to establish its first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean in the tiny Central African country of Equatorial Guinea, according to U.S. officials.

The officials declined to describe details of the secret intelligence findings. But they said the reports raise the prospect that Chinese warships would be able to rearm and refit opposite the East Coast of the U.S.—a threat that is setting off alarm bells at the White House and Pentagon.

Principal deputy U.S. national security adviser Jon Finer visited Equatorial Guinea in October on a mission to persuade President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son and heir apparent, Vice President Teodoro “Teodorin” Nguema Obiang Mangue, to reject China’s overtures.

“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime-security issues, we have made clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential steps involving [Chinese] activity there would raise national-security concerns,” said a senior Biden administration official.

The great-power skirmishing over a country that rarely draws outside attention reflects the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. The two countries are sparring over the status of Taiwan, China’s testing of a hypersonic missile, the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, America/U.S.A., China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General

(C of E) ‘Virus knows no national boundaries’–The Bishop of Durham calls for vaccine equity

Asking a question in the House of Lords, Bishop Paul Butler said the omicron variant showed that the virus “knows no national boundaries.”

He said: “In the light of the new omicron variant that has dominated the news over the weekend, my colleague Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town urged those of us in rich countries to do better at narrowing inequality of vaccination rates, which are 7% in Africa and 70% in Europe.

“We must acknowledge that this virus knows no national boundaries and will spread, mutate and return to us in the way that we are seeing, so we need a global approach, not simply a bilateral approach.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, South Africa

(NYT) New Virus Variant Stokes Concern but Vaccines Still Likely to Work

For now, there’s no evidence that Omicron causes more severe disease than previous variants. And it’s also not clear yet how quickly Omicron can spread from person to person.

Some earlier variants, such as Beta and Mu, had evolved a strong ability to evade immune defenses. But they never became a serious threat to the world because they proved to be poor at transmitting.

Some mutations in Omicron suggest that it may indeed transmit well. Three mutations alter a region of the spike protein called the furin cleavage site, which is already known to help the spike protein attach more effectively to cells.

But Dr. Hanage said he was not yet convinced by the South African data that Omicron was running rampant across the country. “I think it’s too early to be definitive,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, South Africa

(Washington Post) Africa’s Rising Cities–How Africa will become the center of the world’s urban future

Growing at unprecedented rates, and shaped by forces both familiar and new, dozens of African cities will join the ranks of humanity’s biggest megalopolises between now and 2100.

Several recent studies project that by the end of this century, Africa will be the only continent experiencing population growth. Thirteen of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa — up from just two today — as will more than a third of the world’s population.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AP) South African scientists detect new virus variant amid spike

A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province, Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced Thursday.

The coronavirus evolves as it spreads and many new variants, including those with worrying mutations, often just die out. Scientists monitor for possible changes that could be more transmissible or deadly, but sorting out whether new variants will have a public health impact can take time.

South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new infections, Phaahla said at an online press briefing.

“Over the last four or five days, there has been more of an exponential rise,” he said, adding that the new variant appears to be driving the spike in cases. Scientists in South Africa are working to determine what percentage of the new cases have been caused by the new variant.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine, South Africa

(Economist) How not to lose the war on terror in Africa

In many western countries, politicians, soldiers and veterans gather every November to pay tribute to comrades killed fighting for their country. Among those commemorated this year were more than 3,500 troops from America and its allies who died in Afghanistan before the West’s humiliating retreat this summer. And among those paying tribute, far from the Cenotaph in London or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, were dusty Western soldiers in small garrisons across a swathe of Africa. With the formalities over, they resumed their posts among almost 9,000 European and American troops on the front line of what is now the West’s biggest offensive against jihadists, in the Sahel. It is not going well. How it will end depends in no small part on whether the West learns the right lessons from its failures in Afghanistan.

Some may argue that the main lesson is to avoid fighting insurgents in distant lands where no pressing national interests are at stake. But that is not the case in the Sahel, where jihadists aligned to al-Qaeda and Islamic State have taken aim at Western countries, bombing their embassies and kidnapping or killing their citizens. If the jihadists are given havens and time, they will surely launch attacks on European or American soil, too. “That is their goal and their determination and they’ve been open about it,” says a Western general.

Western governments see other interests at stake as well. The most afflicted countries of the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger) are among the poorest, have the world’s fastest-growing populations and are among those where climate change will do the greatest harm.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Terrorism

(Reuters) Uganda’s president Museveni calls for East African leaders’ summit to discuss Ethiopia conflict

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has called an East African bloc leaders’ meeting on Nov. 16 to discuss the conflict in Ethiopia, a senior foreign affairs ministry official said on Thursday.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Politics in General, Uganda, Violence

(NYT) Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency as Rebels Advance Toward Capital

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and called on its citizens to pick up arms and prepare to defend the capital as rebel forces from the northern region of Tigray pressed south toward the city following the capture of two key towns.

The Tigrayans, who have been fighting the government for the past year, have joined forces with another rebel group as they advance on the capital, Addis Ababa. Foreign officials monitoring the fighting said there were signs that several Ethiopian Army units had collapsed or retreated.

The state of emergency reflected the rapidly changing tide in a metastasizing war that threatens to tear apart Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Ethiopia

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on a Proposed Bill before the Ghanaian Parliament

From there:

“I am gravely concerned by the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill due to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament. I will be speaking with the Archbishop of Ghana in the coming days to discuss the Anglican Church of Ghana’s response to the Bill.

“The majority of Anglicans within the global Anglican Communion are committed to upholding both the traditional teaching on marriage as laid out in the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I:10, and the rights of every person, regardless of sexual orientation, before the law. In Resolution I:10, the Anglican Communion also made a commitment “to assure [LGBTQ+ people] that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” Meanwhile on numerous occasions the Primates of the Anglican Communion have stated their opposition to the criminalisation of same-sex attracted people: most recently, and unanimously, in the communiqué of the 2016 Primates’ Meeting.

“I remind our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Ghana of these commitments.

“We are a global family of churches, but the mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ.”

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Central Africa, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Ghana, Politics in General

(CC) Philip Jenkins–The war for Africa’s holy land

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa. It is also a vibrant and expansive center of Christianity: the present Christian population of 80 million is on track to double by 2060, placing Ethiopia far ahead of any European nation. The Orthodox make up 44 percent of Ethiopia, and 22 percent are evangelicals or “Pentays”—Pentecostals. Some 31 percent are Muslims.

But religion is by no means the only factor dividing the country, which is a patchwork of ethnic, tribal, and linguistic groupings. From 1975 through 1991, those diverse populations allied to resist and ultimately overthrow a savage communist dictatorship. After liberation, one of the most powerful ethnic groups seceded to form the new nation of Eritrea. The remaining groups cooperated, somewhat tensely, to rule the restored Ethiopia. That coalition was dominated by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which effectively held power until 2018. The TPLF was then displaced by the new regime headed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has won golden opinions as a peacemaker. In 2019, he received the Nobel Prize for promoting peace with Eritrea. As a faithful Pentay, Abiy Ahmed represents that sizable and fast-growing share of the population.

But despite initial hopes, the country has descended rapidly into turmoil. As the TPLF became ever more disaffected, violence erupted with Ethiopian armed forces, and in 2020, a full-scale Tigray War was in progress. Ethiopian forces seeking to impose their rule on Tigray were assisted by allied Eritrean regulars, and also by some lethal ethnic militias. Massacres and atrocities mounted.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, History, Military / Armed Forces, Violence

(BBC) Historic go-ahead for malaria vaccine to protect African children

Children across much of Africa are to be vaccinated against malaria in a historic moment in the fight against the deadly disease.

Malaria has been one of the biggest scourges on humanity for millennia and mostly kills babies and infants.

Having a vaccine – after more than a century of trying – is among medicine’s greatest achievements.

The vaccine – called RTS,S – was proven effective six years ago.

Now, after the success of pilot immunisation programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, the World Health Organization says the vaccine should be rolled out across sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high malaria transmission.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A high-noon moment for Pope Francis over the Amazon

As for the Americans who have found a leader in Cardinal Burke, many are unhappy with the radical economic view that underpins the synod: one that blames greedy extractive industries and agri-businesses based in the northern hemisphere for the felling and burning of trees whose existence is crucial to the planet.

However, in recent weeks the 82-year-old pope has shown every sign of fighting back hard. On last month’s African tour, he was encouraged by the warm response of ordinary people in Mozambique and Madagascar, counterbalancing the unhappiness over his liberal stance among some African prelates. On the flight out, a French journalist presented him with a book that sets out to document the economic and political interests lined up against him in the United States. The pontiff accepted with a smile, saying: “For me it is an honour if the Americans attack me.” Francis added that, although an outright schism in the church would be highly undesirable, he is not scared of that prospect.

The very fact that Francis mentioned the s-word was seen as a sign of intra-church arguments moving into new territory. In the most extreme scenario, traditionalist prelates might formally declare that Francis had lost all moral authority and start consecrating like-minded bishops without papal approval, as Marcel Lefebvre, an ultra-conservative French archbishop, did in the 1980s. The breakaway group would then be excommunicated. But for now, that still seems far-fetched. In the assessment of Francis himself, “today we have pockets of rigidity which aren’t a schism, but they are [in] semi-schismatic ways of life that will end badly.”

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(FT on yesterday’s front page) Rwanda flexes muscles in fight against terror in Mozambique

The moment Yussuf Abdallah met the Rwandan soldiers he knew the game was up.

The 18-year-old Islamist insurgent in northern Mozambique was part of a group known to local people as Shabaab. It has loose ties with Isis and has over the past four years terrorised the northern province of Cabo Delgado, displacing more than 800,000 and killing more than 3,000.

But then troops from a country barely a fraction of Mozambique’s size showed up and cleaned up most of the area in a matter of weeks.

“We were overwhelmed by their number, they were also extremely fierce,” said Abdallah, now a prisoner of the Mozambican state in the coastal city of Mocímboa de Praia, until August an insurgents’ stronghold. “We couldn’t contain the confrontation, they have better weaponry, we couldn’t do anything.”

Rwanda’s 1,000-strong brigade of soldiers and police achieved in weeks what Mozambican and other forces had been unable to do in years. The turn of events in Cabo Delgado illustrates Kigali’s willingness under president Paul Kagame to reach beyond its borders and act as police officer in regional disputes.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Military / Armed Forces, Mozambique, Rwanda, Terrorism

(NYT front page) Boko Haram Wanes, and a Nigerian City Is Fearful

For over a decade, the extremist group Boko Haram has terrorized northeastern Nigeria — killing tens of thousands of people, kidnapping schoolgirls and sending suicide bombers into busy marketplaces.

Now, thousands of Boko Haram fighters have surrendered, along with their family members, and are being housed by the government in a compound in the city of Maiduguri, the group’s birthplace and its frequent target.

The compound is next to a middle-class housing development and a primary school, terrifying residents, teachers and parents.

“We are very afraid,” said Maimouna Mohammed, a teacher at the primary school, glancing at the camp’s wall 50 yards from her classroom. “We don’t know their minds.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(C of E) The youth groups that grew into a church

Born and raised in Ghana, Nicholas moved to the UK 14 years ago, working as a Pioneer Evangelist with young people in Bradford and South East London. Today, he brings this experience and passion with him as serves as Deacon in the Diocese of Southwark.

In 2013, Nicholas came to Thamesmead, Woolwich, and planted a church with young people who had no former connection with church.

He launched a Friday night youth club, a Tuesday night gathering, a Youth Alpha course and from this, a youth congregation that would meet on a Sunday evening.

Nicholas also worked with secondary schools and a youth charity on the estate in Abbey Wood, running football and lunch clubs.

Focused on getting young people off the streets and into a place where they could belong, connect with friends, and build relationships, Nicholas was able to mentor them, with Christian teaching.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Ghana, Parish Ministry, Teens / Youth, Youth Ministry

(Guardian) Drought puts 2.1 million Kenyans at risk of starvation

An estimated 2.1 million Kenyans face starvation due to a drought in half the country, which is affecting harvests.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said people living in 23 counties across the arid north, northeastern and coastal parts of the country will be in “urgent need” of food aid over the next six months, after poor rains between March and May this year.

The crisis has been compounded by Covid-19 and previous poor rains, it said, predicting the situation will get worse by the end of the year, as October to December rains are expected to be below normal levels.

The affected regions are usually the most food-insecure in Kenya due to high levels of poverty.

Read it all.

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Kenya, Poverty

Food for Thought from Saint Cyprian on his Feast Day

Let us therefore, brethren beloved, pray as God our Teacher has taught us. It is a loving and friendly prayer to beseech God with His own word, to come up to His ears in the prayer of Christ. Let the Father acknowledge the words of His Son when we make our prayer, and let Him also who dwells within in our breast Himself dwell in our voice. And since we have Him as an Advocate with the Father for our sins, let us, when as sinners we petition on behalf of our sins, put forward the words of our Advocate. For since He says, that “whatsoever we shall ask of the Father in His name, He will give us,”how much more effectually do we obtain what we ask in Christ’s name, if we ask for it in His own prayer!

But let our speech and petition when we pray be under discipline, observing quietness and modesty. Let us consider that we are standing in God’s sight. We must please the divine eyes both with the habit of body and with the measure of voice. For as it is characteristic of a shameless man to be noisy with his cries, so, on the other hand, it is fitting to the modest man to pray with moderated petitions. Moreover, in His teaching the Lord has bidden us to pray in secret in hidden and remote places, in our very bed-chambers which is best suited to faith, that we may know that God is everywhere present, and hears and sees all, and in the plenitude of His majesty penetrates even into hidden and secret places, as it is written, “I am a God at hand, and not a God afar off. If a man shall hide himself in secret places, shall I not then see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth?” And again: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”And when we meet together with the brethren in one place, and celebrate divine sacrifices with God’s priest, we ought to be mindful of modesty and discipline””not to throw abroad our prayers indiscriminately, with unsubdued voices, nor to cast to God with tumultuous wordiness a petition that ought to be commended to God by modesty; for God is the hearer, not of the voice, but of the heart. Nor need He be clamorously reminded, since He sees men’s thoughts, as the Lord proves to us when He says, “Why think ye evil in your hearts?” And in another place: “And all the churches shall know that I am He that searcheth the hearts and reins.”

And this Hannah in the first book of Kings, who was a type of the Church, maintains and observes, in that she prayed to God not with clamorous petition, but silently and modestly, within the very recesses of her heart. She spoke with hidden prayer, but with manifest faith. She spoke not with her voice, but with her heart, because she knew that thus God hears; and she effectually obtained what she sought, because she asked it with belief. Divine Scripture asserts this, when it says, “She spake in her heart, and her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; and God did hear her.”We read also in the Psalms, “Speak in your hearts, and in your beds, and be ye pierced.”The Holy Spirit, moreover, suggests these same things by Jeremiah, and teaches, saying, “But in the heart ought God to be adored by thee.”

–From his Treatise On the Lord’s Prayer

Posted in Africa, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Cyprian

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Cyprian boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Africa, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(Business Standard) Africa ‘not on track’ to 10% Covid-19 vaccination target by year end: WHO

Only 1.5 per cent of the whole population of Africa has been vaccinated against Covid-19, and the continent might not even reach 10 per cent coverage by December 2021, although the World Health Organization (WHO) wanted to cross that threshold by September of this year, WHO officials warned on Friday.

“Right now, we are not on track to hit 10 per cent coverage in Africa by the end of this year,” said Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to the WHO director general, at a press conference here on Friday.

“That should be a scar on all of our conscience, quite frankly,” he added, pointing out that the number of coronavirus-related deaths has increased by 80 per cent on the African continent, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Only a fraction of the globally available vaccine doses have been administered in Africa, less than two per cent of the 4.07 billion doses used worldwide, according to the WHO.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine

(NBC) Boko Haram Kidnapping Survivors Now Pursuing Graduate Degrees To Help Others

“Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu were among the hundreds of girls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram in Nigeria. After escaping, both women have now graduated from Florida’s Southeastern University and plan to pursue graduate degrees. They’re determined to be a voice for those still missing.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Education, Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence, Women, Young Adults

(BBC) South Africa looting: Government to deploy 25,000 troops after unrest

The South African government plans to deploy 25,000 troops after days of widespread looting and violence.

The military deployment – to counter riots sparked by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma – would be the biggest since the end of apartheid.

At least 117 people have died and more than 2,000 have been arrested in South Africa’s worst unrest in years.

Hundreds of shops and businesses have been looted and the government says it is acting to prevent food shortages.

Citizens are arming themselves and forming vigilante groups to protect their property from the rampage.

Read it all.

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, South Africa, Violence

(CT) Whispered Prayers, Hidden Bibles, Secretly Scribbled Verses: Inside the Resilient Faith of the #BringBackOurGirls Hostages

Eventually, word of the girls’ indiscipline reached Malam Ahmed. The girls were singing, he learned, and were hiding a Bible. He was furious. His guards arrived, a mass of men descending on them all at once, shouting orders and demanding to search the area. The girls stood to the side while the men rifled through the piled-up clothes and kitchen utensils they kept under a tree. The militants confiscated medicine, mainly basic painkillers the girls had been hiding. They found a cellphone. But the girls had already buried their diaries and a Bible, marking the spot with a stone.

“We were no longer afraid,” Naomi told us.

It wasn’t until May 2017 that she and 81 of her classmates were ordered to march to the side of a dirt road, where a row of white Red Cross Toyota Land Cruisers were parked. One after the next, the young women were invited to cross the road by a lawyer, who had been working with the Swiss Foreign Affairs ministry to help negotiate their release. The cars rumbled off, and as the schoolmates cracked open juice boxes, the men who’d held them hostage for three years became small figures on the horizon. The journey had barely begun when the passengers broke into a song from Chibok, loud enough that the entire convoy could hear and join in. Their voices arched and lingered over the a in happy, reaching for a note at the top of the melody.

Today is a happy day!
Everybody shake your body, thank God! Today is a happy day.

Years later, Naomi began to recount these anecdotes to us, recalling a story of courage in the face of horrors that sounded fantastical in their depravity. Nevertheless, after many hours of interviews with the young women held in captivity, it became clear that her account often understated the schoolgirls’ bravery. Naomi and her friends had no reason to believe they would survive their ordeal and every expectation that each challenge to their captors’ worldview would result in physical and mental punishment. They stuck to their principles all the same, staging a rebellion that signaled their determination to persevere.

“We stood our ground,” as Naomi later told us.

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Posted in Nigeria, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Violence, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard Mizeki

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, South Africa, Spirituality/Prayer, Zimbabwe