Nonviolence in Africa participants visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on 8 December. Photo by Marie Just, Pax Christi International.
From 5-9 December, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Pax Christi International facilitated a conference which brought together representatives of its African member organisations to explore the theme, Nonviolence in Africa: Creating a Future of Hope. More than 30 member organisations from nine African nations participated, in addition to presenters and facilitators from a number of other countries.
On the final day of the conference, the member organisations affirmed the Appeal to the Catholic Church to re-commit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence.
The following affirmation statement was published on 9 December:
“Africa is a special gift from God to us, and it is bleeding.” These opening words from Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa challenged the participants at the Nonviolence in Africa conference on the urgency to come up with the appropriate mechanisms to create peaceful relations where people may live in harmony and with dignity. His words of wisdom also reminded the gathering of the words of Pope Francis to participants of the Nonviolence and Just Peace conference held in Rome in April 2016: “Your thoughts on revitalising the tools of nonviolence, and of active nonviolence in particular, will be a needed and positive contribution.”
After listening to the experiences of Christians committed to building a culture of peace through active nonviolence approaches, to our reflections and deliberations, the richness of the sharing fully resonated with our conviction that active nonviolence is a practical way to create a peaceful coexistence in our African context. Therefore, we, the participants of the Nonviolence in Africa conference and representatives of Pax Christi International member organisations throughout Africa, affirm the Appeal to the Catholic Church to re-commit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence because of our conviction that it will act as an impetus for communities in Africa and throughout the world to integrate gospel values and promote active nonviolence at personal, communal, national, regional and global levels.