“Hands off Africa”: Pope Francis Revisits Key Moments of Recent Trip to Africa in New Book

By Jude Atemanke

Nairobi, 25 May, 2023 / (ACI Africa) Published with permission.

“Hands off Africa”, Pope Francis’ new book that was released May 22 features key moments of his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace in South Sudan from 31 January to 5 February 2023.

The 152-page book written in Italian, compiles the Holy Father’s speeches during his trip to the two African nations earlier this year.

The title of the new book stems from the Holy Father’s first speech in DRC on January 31, where he urged the international community to give the Central African country its autonomy while not turning a blind eye to exploitation and violence.

Pope Francis’ speech noted DRC’s endurance of political exploitation in what he called “economic colonialism,” child labor, and violence.

In a press release issued May 22, the Vatican Publishing House says the new book also contains “various testimonies, including those of the people who were victims of unprecedented violence and armed conflict.”

“It is a valuable book because it combines the prophetic word of Francis with voices of women and Congolese and South Sudanese men and women who reveal, with great courage and humility, their journey of suffering and faith, offering a rare testimony of man’s capacity for forgiveness,” the leadership of the Vatican Publishing House says.

In the Preface, award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, describes the Pope Francis’ latest book “as a beacon of hope for Congo and Africa at large.”

“This book brings me a small sliver of hope for Congo, and for the beloved and broken-hearted continent that I call home,” she says in the preface.

Ms. Ngozi says the Holy Father’s message “is not merely that Congo, and by extension Africa, matters but that it matters for one reason only. Not for its resources, which the global North depends on, not for fear that the continent could become again the scene of Western proxy battles as happened during the Cold War, but simply because of the people.”

“Africa matters because Africans matter,” she emphasizes in the Preface of the book, “Hands off Africa”.

SOURCE ACI Africa. Published with permission.

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