Monthly Archives: July 2016

Governments and business must do more to combat Africa’s biggest threat.

The biggest threat to peace and development in Africa is not terrorism, drought, HIV/AIDS or malaria. Africa’s biggest threat is corruption. Corruption is also Africa’s biggest terror risk, and its biggest brake on development. It is arguably one of Africa’s biggest killers. Yet the moral and financial investment in fighting downstream consequences of corruption –…

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Uganda. ‘Imbalu’. The Pride of Bamasaaba.

The Masaba people, or Bamasaaba, live in the Eastern Ugandan districts of Sironko, Manafwa, Bududa, Mbale and Bulambuli. They are about 1 million people. The Bamasaaba are famous for their traditional male circumcision ceremonies, held every even year. In a three-day ceremony of dancing and feasting, preceded by a couple of months preparations, the initiates…

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The spiritual world and the dead.

The deceased protect and reward those who are faithful to and pray for them. They provide happiness, health, money, children and prosperity. The deceased punish, instead, those who ignore them, through diseases, infertility and even violent or unexpected deaths. Life, among the Fon people therefore, does not end with death, but continues in another realm.…

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Cosmogony and anthropology of the Adja-Fon.

The cosmogony of the Adja-Fon people is hierarchical and spiritualist. It implies a hierarchy of beings, and the separation of the cosmos (Weke in the Fon language) into two worlds: the visible and the invisible, the material and the spiritual. The invisible world, somehow, is considered more important than the visible one. It is based…

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Mozambique. In the shadow of the Baobab.

One day a group of young people gathered under a Baobab tree to listen to Kibaykita, one of the most respected village elders. The old man began to speak … Sporadic giant baobab trees stand on the sides of the dirt roads that wind through the African red trails. The Baobab trees tower like steeples,…

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Benin. The Fon: a proud people

The Fon people are the largest ethnic group of Benin, and make up 39% of an estimated population of 10 million inhabitants. Fon is also a language, one of the most popular in Benin, not only because of the numerical strength of this group, but also because these people are scattered throughout several regions of…

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Ecuador. The Puruhaes’ concept of Sumak Kawsay.

The Puruhaes are an indigenous people who live in the provinces of Chimborazo, Bolivar, Tungurahua and part of Cotopaxi, in the central area of the Andean Region of Ecuador. Today they are about 200 thousand people. Two indigenous leaders of these communities  explain the meaning of Sumak Kawsay. Sumak and Kawsay  are two ancient words…

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Brazil. The green movement for the Amazon.

A Bishop fighting against the deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. A hospital ship named in honour of Pope Francis to reach the remote areas along the rivers Amazonas, Trobetas, Nhamundá, Tapajós where the indigenous people live. Thousands of trees are cut down every minute during the day and transported to sawmills on big trucks at…

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Philippines. The Coloured Houses for abandoned children.

To go beyond peripheries into “no man’s land” – the dark corners, inhospitable situations of abuse and exploitation – reaching out to the young who have been left to themselves in the rough corners of life. Father Vincent Borno, talked about his experience. Since Pope Francis’ arrival, it has become fashionable to speak of peripheries.…

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Why the Monkey has no home

In the old days monkeys used to live together in the forest as one clan. Anything they did, was done collectively. There were no small groups. The only thing they did individually was to find food. In this monkey clan, an old one was elected as its leader. Being old and wise he was respected…

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Money as a mission.

St. Basil the Great, in the 4th century would call money ‘the devil’s dung,’  an epithet reused by Pope Francis last year. Oscar Wilde said…

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The Hare, the Hippo and the Fire.

The hare and the hippo were great friends. They walked together in the veld and visited each other in their homes. The hippo was very proud…

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Youth & Mission

The Virus of Racism.

The world is seeing once again the upsurge of a vicious “virus” that has spread to every corner of the world. This time, the “virus” is…

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