Highly decorated and award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has set the world abuzz with anticipation as Pope Francis unveils his groundbreaking new book, “Hands Off Africa,” which condemns the continuing exploitation of Africa by Western powers.
This is coming weeks after she wrote a controversial open letter to United States President, Joe Biden, about Nigeria’s ‘Hollow Democracy.’
The Vatican yesterday announced that the esteemed author had written the preface for the Pope’s extraordinary work, adding her powerful voice to the Papal’s visionary message.
“Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be exploited, or a land to be plundered. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!”
These were the words of Pope Francis on his first day during his historic visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this year.
The release of this transformative book on Tuesday marks a momentous milestone in the quest for African empowerment and global solidarity.
In the thought-provoking preface of “Hands off Africa,” Chimamanda bestowed high praise on Pope Francis’ powerful message, describing it as a beacon of hope for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the entire African continent.
She passionately denounced the long-standing exploitation and conflict-induced exhaustion that have plagued the region, asserting that the world’s silence on these matters represents a tragic betrayal.
Adichie boldly underscored that this silence symbolises the continued devaluation of African humanity, even as the global community eagerly consumes the continent’s resources. She fervently described the Pope’s messages as “potent” and “a necessary rebuke” to affluent nations.
Adichie’s resounding words echo with unwavering strength: “His 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.”
The Vatican Publishing House shared that “Hands off Africa” is a compilation of Pope Francis’ speeches during his visits to the conflict-ridden regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in January/February 2023. This book also incorporates the authentic voices and stories of the individuals Pope Francis encountered throughout his transformative journey, ensuring their narratives are heard and cherished.
As the revered leader of the global Catholic Church and the esteemed Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis consistently advocates for world peace and harmony.
Crucially, however, the book does not contain only the Pope’s voice, but also those of those he met during his journey.
In both the DRC and South Sudan – two countries torn by vicious conflict – Pope Francis listened to the testimonies of war victims, and their stories, too, are included in the volume.
Chimamanda, the first woman to receive a chieftaincy title in her hometown of Abba in Anambra State, continues to lend her literary prowess and unwavering commitment to causes that guarantee world peace and freedom. Her poignant preface in Pope Francis’ book further amplifies the call for global unity and empowerment.
In her preface, Adichie focuses in particular on the Pope’s trip to the DRC, “a country whose resources have long been exploited, a country exhausted by pillage and conflict, a country desperate to be made whole again.”
The greatest tragedy of the situation, she says, is “not the internecine conflicts but the silence of the world”, which “speaks to the continued devaluing of African humanity by a world that nevertheless eagerly consumes African resources.”
In this context, she says, Pope Francis’ visit to the DRC, and his “potent” messages there, read as “a necessary rebuke” to wealthy nations.
“His message”, she continues, “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.”