Rev. Lydia Neshangwe, Moderator of the Council for World Mission (CWM) delivered a Goodwill Message to the All Africa Youth Congress in Pentecost Convention Centre, Ghana on 1 November 2022, where she exhorted the young people to “take your place and lead us with transforming and servant leadership”.
Calling this initiative of the All Africa Conference of Churches’ (AACC) a “viable space for energising young people into meaningful action”, the CWM Moderator was among those who brought greetings to the Youth Congress themed “Africa: My Home. My Future”, which was intended to increase awareness of the potential and opportunities for youth in Africa, thereby inspiring their patriotism and motivation to use their talents and gifts to build a thriving continent.
Africa has the largest youth population in the world, with more than 60 percent of the vibrant continent below 25 years of age. As this population continues to rise, there has been uncertainty over the continent’s preparedness to tap into this resource for economic growth.
With the West indebted to Africa for its current prosperity, Rev. Neshangwe quoted Ghanaian female theologian Mercy Amba Oduyoye who said, “Our ancestors were busy helping the North when they began to develop their economies. Now the time has come for us to concentrate on our development.”
Rejecting the portrayal of Africa as a hopeless and miserable continent by the international community, the CWM Moderator, who is also a Minister of Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA), proclaimed, “We are gathered here to declare that Africa is full of dynamism and many hopes. Africa is a beautiful continent and known as the hometown of all humanity.”
Affirming African Christianity’s “deep spirituality, intellectual capacity and commitment to diakonia and transformation”, she said that when it comes to mission, Africa should be mutually encouraging and supportive to construct their future with their own hands and from their well. African Christians must heed the divine mandate of unity and peace to achieve lasting change, and overcome ethnocentrism and conflicts, she added.
The Congress was convened under four themes – “Youth and African Patriotism; Active Citizenship; Justice and Peace; and African Dignity”, unveiled by the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana in a colourful opening ceremony that included the arrival of the climate justice torch on the way to COP27. The climate justice torch is an initiative of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, with whom AACC recently signed an agreement to cooperate on environmental justice and ecosystem issues. The torch is aimed at engaging youth climate activists and boosting their influence in climate justice making decisions, among other objectives.
Dated 3 November 2022
Image by Damon Mkandawire