Defending African Dignity in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic, and Forgiving!

From the All Africa Conference of Churches

We are deeply shocked and disappointed by the inappropriate remarks by two French scientists, made during a live interview on French television channel LCI, suggesting that Africa should be the testing ground for treatment for the novel Corona virus (COVID-19).

We, the All Africa Conference of Churches, on behalf of many churches in Africa, join many voices which we have heard already, including the WHO to express our dismay and shock on those remarks. The remarks demonstrate the demeaning of African dignity based on the image of Africa as the source and target of all kinds of troubles and problems.

We are grateful to God that Africa has so far been spared of the massive and widespread devastation of this dangerous pandemic, and we continue to pray that God helps humanity to find solutions for it globally. It is just because of usual stereotype that these remarks were made, which to us are insensitive and against African dignity. We want to affirm and defend the African dignity, and strongly uphold the rights and integrity of the African people. We call on the world to develop a more realistic, positive image of an Africa which we who live here experience every day.

However, we as Christians are called to share the gift of forgiveness. As we start the observation of the Holy Week, remembering how the sinless Lord gave himself for our sins, we cannot and should not seek revenge and retribution. We are cognizant of the fact that the two French scientists have recognized their mistake, and have since apologized. We are called to accept their apology and forgive them.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: “If someone sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two or you are alone. If the he or she listens to you, you gave regained that one…” (Matthew 18:15). These people have apologized, recognized the pain they have caused to Africa and the world. They must be forgiven. We must also as Christians overcome the temptation to hold grudges not only against them, but also against their nations and continents. We must not have stereotypical beliefs against them or where they come from, for that would be committing the same sin we are accusing them of committing against us.

We commend and focus on the rich knowledge and skills systems inherent in Africa, being used to fight the pandemic and to respond to the needs of its people.

Happy Easter,
Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Dr. Fidon Mwombeki
General Secretary