“Hands off Africa”: Pope Francis Revisits Key Moments of Recent Trip to Africa in New Book

Coverpage of Pope Francis' new book titled “Hands off Africa”. Credit: Vatican Publishing House

“Hands off Africa”, Pope Francis’ new book that was released May 22 features key moments of his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace in South Sudan from 31 January to 5 February 2023.

The 152-page book written in Italian, compiles the Holy Father's speeches during his trip to the two African nations earlier this year.

The title of the new book stems from the Holy Father’s first speech in DRC on January 31, where he urged the international community to give the Central African country its autonomy while not turning a blind eye to exploitation and violence.

Pope Francis’ speech noted DRC’s endurance of political exploitation in what he called “economic colonialism,” child labor, and violence.

In a press release issued May 22, the Vatican Publishing House says the new book also contains “various testimonies, including those of the people who were victims of unprecedented violence and armed conflict.”


“It is a valuable book because it combines the prophetic word of Francis with voices of women and Congolese and South Sudanese men and women who reveal, with great courage and humility, their journey of suffering and faith, offering a rare testimony of man's capacity for forgiveness,” the leadership of the Vatican Publishing House says.

In the Preface, award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, describes the Pope Francis’ latest book “as a beacon of hope for Congo and Africa at large.”

“This book brings me a small sliver of hope for Congo, and for the beloved and broken-hearted continent that I call home,” she says in the preface.

Ms. Ngozi says the Holy Father’s 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,” she emphasizes in the Preface of the book, “Hands off Africa”.

More in Africa

The Nigerian writer goes on to decry “the level of exploitation and the conflict-driven exhaustion that the country and the continent of Africa have suffered.”

She laments the “silence of the world as the greatest tragedy of the situation.”

“This silence speaks to the continued devaluing of African humanity by a world that nevertheless eagerly consumes African resources,” she says, and describes the Pope Francis’ messages as “potent and a necessary rebuke” to wealthy nations.

In the May 22 press release, the publisher of the book notes that “Pope Francis has always been on the front line against the injustices and greed of the West interested in (plundering) the riches of the African continent.”

The press release further indicates that Pope Francis’ “powerful, authoritative voice has constantly invited political leaders to place the development of Africa at the center of international agendas.”


“This book, tracing the different stages of Francis' pilgrimage on African soil, highlights his closeness to two peoples wounded by war, impoverished by predatory foreign powers, weakened by the corruption of the local political classes,” the press release further says. 

In an earlier initiative, members of the Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) in Nairobi, Kenya, published a book, “Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Africa”, that engraves Pope Francis’ third pastoral visit to Sub-Saharan Africa in readers’ minds.

The 136-page book provides a summary of Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to DRC and South Sudan.

In an interview with ACI Africa following the release of the book, the Directress of Paulines Publications Africa, an apostolic ministry of FSP members, said that the Daughters of St. Paul were driven by the desire to amplify the Holy Father’s messages to the entire continent.

“Through his speeches, Pope Francis talked about the continent of Africa. This means that his message was not just meant for the people in DRC and South Sudan but for all African countries,” Sr. Praxides Nafula said during the March 23 interview. 

(Story continues below)

Published on March 14, a day after Pope Francis celebrated the 10th anniversary of his Pontificate, the book is a special memoir for the people of God in Africa to go back to and remember the encounters between the Holy Father and the people of God in DRC and South Sudan.

“Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Africa” can be found in all Paulines Publications Africa bookshops in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, South Sudan, and Sudan; and can also be purchased digitally.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.