Strive “for your future”, Pope Francis to Youth in Africa, Warns against Enslavement


Pope Francis has urged young people in Africa to work towards their future, ensuring that they “stay alive”.

Speaking during the virtual dialogue with Catholic youths from universities in Africa that the Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN) organized on the Solemnity of All Saints’ Day, the Holy Father cautioned the youth in Africa against enslavement.

“Please continue working, striving for your future; don’t allow yourselves to be enslaved; be cautious and make sure you stay alive,” Pope Francis said during the Tuesday, November 1 two-hour event.

The Pope encouraged the youth in Africa to believe in themselves, saying, “Do not underestimate yourselves; do not be afraid, organize, struggle; do not allow yourselves to be turned into slaves.”

Although striving for a future and freedom from political and economic enslavement may “lead to martyrdom”, the Holy Father encouraged the youth not to despair because “God is the courage we need.”


“Think of how many social murders that exist among young people. I am thinking of all the young people who gave their lives to struggle for their country’s socially and politically,” Pope Francis said during the event that brought together students from 34 universities that were drawn from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast.

During the virtual dialogue with Pope Francis, Edda Nabwire from Kenya narrated how young people in her native country are misused by politicians to cause violence.

Ms. Nabwire said that the challenges Kenyan youth face, “ranging from poverty, hopelessness…erosion of African cultural values, all come from the problem of bad governance in Africa.” 

She told the Holy Father that despite the challenges, young people “are yearning to participate more actively in the way our countries are governed.”

Reacting to Ms. Nabwire input, Pope Francis said that poor or complete lack of participation of young people in the matters of any country ranging from political to economic can lead to the death of that country.

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“Young people have to be involved socially, politically, religiously, culturally and intellectually,” the Holy Father said, adding that the inclusion needs to start immediately rather than waiting “for tomorrow.”

Ms. Nabwire was one of the nine students that presented talking points at the November 1 virtual Papal dialogue with African Catholic University students, seeking solidarity with the Holy Father in the challenges youths in Africa face.

The students had various talking points on faith and spirituality, the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which emphasizes that “I am because we are”, as well as the aspect of human solidarity.

The interaction between the Pope and the African youth was pegged on the three steps of the Synod on Synodality: listening, discernment and action, with rootedness in the Holy Spirit.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.