Africa Christianity Today Published Articles

Amid Cascade of Coups, African Christians Debate Civic Duty 

Image: John Wessels / AFP / Getty Images

There is an “epidemic” of military coups in Africa, says the head of the United Nations. The past year and a half witnessed the overthrow of governments in Mali (twice), Chad, Guinea, Sudan, and Burkina Faso. At least three additional attempts were thwarted in Madagascar, the Central African Republic, and Niger.

Averaging two per year for the last decade, this is Africa’s largest surge since 1999.

What should Christians in these nations do about it?

Abel Ngarsouledé of Chad, where roughly 45 percent of the Muslim-majority nation is Christian, is walking it through.

“It is not for me to support a military coup in my country,” said the secretary general of the doctoral program at the Evangelical University of Chad. “But if God wants to remove a king from his throne, [God] uses all the means in his power to restore his fear and justice in the land.”

When Chad’s president was killed on the battlefield last April, the army moved quickly to place his son in charge of a 15-member Transitional Military Council that would govern for 18 months, renewable once. Pledging to hold a national dialogue, invitations were sent to rebel groups, politicians, civil society, academics, and religious leaders.

Ngarsouledé accepted.

With the council now delayed until May, he serves on two committee in a process designed to lead to reconciliation, social cohesion, and new elections. There are no guarantees any of these will happen, he says, and asks for prayer.

Also deputy director of the Council of Theological Institutions in Francophone Africa, Ngarsouledé recalled that at times in Old Testament history, God used prophets or priests to depose kings. Though today prayer should be employed, he is not so concerned about the end result.

“The form of the state is not the subject of biblical teaching,” he said, noting God’s priority for peace and justice. “It is men who adopt this or that form of governance, according to the orientation of their hearts.”

If Ngarsouledé’s opinion does not reflect the ironclad American Christian defense of democracy, he is not the only African Christian leader failing to do so. “Between democracy and autocracy, democracy seems to be the best suited at the moment,” said…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today, on March 17, 2022. Please click here to read the full text.


Egyptian Sumo Wrestling and Chess

From Ahram Online, providing a necessary break from politics to highlight Egyptian sporting success:

The first professional sumo wrestler from either Africa or the Arab world was given a boost Wednesday, winning promotion to the sport’s second highest division in Japan.

The Japan Sumo Association promoted 21-year-old Egyptian Abdel-Rahman Ahmed Shaalan, who goes by the ring name of “Osunaarashi” (Great Sandstorm), to the “jyuryo” division, made of wrestlers ranked between 43rd and 70th.

Meanwhile, Egypt is the top chess playing nation in Africa:

Egypt’s national chess team devoured almost all African Championship 2013 Open top spots, qualifying them for the World Cup in Norway in August.

The Egyptian team lead both men’s and women’s competitions held this year in Tunis from 17 – 27 May.

The first three places in the men’s competition were dominated by Egyptians, with Bassem Samir taking the crown, Ahmed Adly second and Essam El-Gindy third.

Likewise, in the women’s competition, Shorouq Nagi and Aya Moataz of Egypt nailed the top two slots.

And for those who didn’t know, though there is no recent article to highlight, Egyptians are among the best squash players in the world.

Congratulations, Egypt, we are very proud.

Africa Lapido Media Published Articles

Ethiopia’s First Africa-Trained Pediatric Surgeon Gives Children a Glimmer of Hope

From my latest article in Lapido Media:


If not for Frehun Ayele, Fatima would still be wet with urine. The eleven-year-old native of war-torn Somalia traveled over 500 kilometers to Addis Ababa for an operation on her bladder, which was completely open to the skin since birth.

‘For children in need of surgery, it is a big challenge,’ Dr. Frehun told Lapido Media, describing waiting lists of over a year. ‘The most vulnerable in terms of disease severity, poverty, and distance, suffer much. Only the fittest survive.’

Frehun is unique as the first Ethiopian to be trained as a pediatric surgeon in Africa. Three months ago he halved the waiting list by opening the nation’s second pediatric surgery clinic, BethanyKids, in cooperation with the Korean-founded Myungsung Christian Medical Hospital.

‘Before the arrival of BethanyKids, there were three pediatric surgeons for over ninety million people,’ said Dr. Dan Poenaru, Frehun’s training surgeon and now partner in the clinic.

This was a very fun article to write. It was also a challenge, done remotely, relying on email. Many thanks to the people of PAACS for helping. PAACS, by the way, stands for the Pan-African Association of Christian Surgeons:

an organization dedicated to the training and discipling of African surgeons to provide excellent, compassionate care to those most in need.

Their work is for the good of the continent and all its religious adherents, but a very clear commitment to Jesus is part of their methodology, one which they believe makes all the difference:

Gray helped arrange the exchange of residents with the national training center in Addis Ababa University, which is open to students of all faiths. But according to Dr. Bruce Steffes, the executive director of PAACS, it may have been the organization’s Christian commitment which made the difference.

Speaking with a particular government minister who was suspicious of the missionaries, Steffes pointed out all twenty-eight PAACS graduates were serving in their local context, often in rural areas.

‘I may have influenced his decision,’ he said, ‘by pointing out that their desire to serve Jesus is what motivates them to serve in those areas.’

By contrast:

‘Many of the brightest and best medical students leave for training abroad, but after five years of training put down roots and stay there,’ he said.

Thompson said there is a greater than ninety percent attrition rate, a significant brain drain costing Africa the surgeons it needs. Even for those who do return, he says, most cannot function for more than a few years, as they were trained in ideal conditions in the West.

‘We train them in these resource poor environments,’ Thompson said, ‘so they know how to operate here.’

Please click here to read the entire article on Lapido Media, and have a look at the PAACS website as well. Do consider them for your support.