Source: John McCann — M&G

I was judging a competition for young people somewhere in the southeast of Nigeria earlier this year, when one of the judges asked a contestant a taboo question: “Are you gay?”

It’s three words. It’s a simple question. In some parts of the world, it’s as simple as asking: “Do you believe in God?” “Are you married?” “Ketchup or mayonnaise?”

But not here, not in my country of birth and residence. Here, it can be a matter of life and death. It can be a question of being thrown out of your home and being detained by the police. It…

by Chude Jideonwo and Damola Morenikeji

Source: Mail & Guardian

The world has been paying attention to Sweden for bucking the global trends on a national lockdown. The jury is still out on the wisdom of its approach to Covid-19 but there is no question that it has taken a deliberate approach in what it believes works for its citizens.

The same is happening across Africa.

Take Togo, for instance, where a three-month state of emergency was declared. After recording cases of the virus, the West African country enforced border closures and physical distancing. …

by Chude Jideonwo and Damola Morenikeji

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s has promised to step aside after three terms, raising many questions about his motives. (image credit: M&G)

As several nations take measures to protect their citizens against the coronavirus, Burundians will be leaving the safety of their homes for the polls on May 20 for the presidential and parliamentary elections amidst fears of ethnic clashes and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country has evidently chosen the option of risking citizens’ lives to bring in another regime rather than keeping them safe at home but whether the risk will be worth the reward remains to be seen.

This election will signal the end of the Pierre Nkurunziza era, a 15-year…

Nigeria’s faith leaders are immensely influential and often have millions of followers. If they want to help, they should stay out of the way.

Several religious leaders in Nigeria have congregations of millions of people. Credit: Peter Egbumokei.

Earlier this month, one of Nigeria’s most influential pastors caused a huge storm. In a broadcast that shocked the nation, Chris Oyakhilome claimed that COVID-19 is linked to 5G technology and part of a plot to enslave Africans.

The backlash to his endorsement of this dangerous conspiracy theory was swift, and for good reason. Oyakhilome leads Christ Embassy, a 30-year-old ministry with branches on six continents and an estimated congregation of 13 million people. Across his social platforms, the pastor himself has 4 million followers who help propagate his views.

While many in Oyakhilome’s congregation supported his claims, the vast…

by Chude Jideonwo and Damola Morenikeji

“There are decades where nothing happens and some weeks where decades happen”, the former leader of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin remarked over 100 years ago. We think that describes the state of the world — and indeed — the situation in countries around Africa in the past weeks.

As at the time of writing this piece, all countries in Africa, with the exception of Comoros and Lesotho, have recorded rising cases of Coronavirus. There have been over 10,000+ cases, over four hundred deaths have been recorded and almost a thousand people have recovered…

by Chude Jideonwo and Damola Morenikeji

One of us recently shared about an encounter with a leading political elite and the bizarreness they showed about dedicating attention to joy. When the matter being discussed is joy, or happiness or some other subject deemed too fluffy to be serious about, we have seen people feign indifference. Other times, it is surprise. With the rise in depression and loneliness that may be caused by the now-infamous spray of self-quarantine, you can see people showing concerns.

When people talk about happiness and resilience of Africans, they often talk about it sometimes without putting…

by Chude Jideonwo and Damola Morenikeji

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

“Fifty years is too long” was one of the slogans easily displayed on the streets of Lome in Togo. The year was 2017, and with thousands of Togolese on the street, it was the infamous electoral reform protests and rejection of the elongation of the Eyademan family’s five-decade rule. Roughly three years after that series of protests, it seems the citizens of Togo have resigned to fate, waiting for another decade of the Eyadema to happen.

First gaining access to power in 1967 after his second military coup, and installing himself as President in…

(A letter from RED as we welcome 2020).

I wish I had the prescience to have a recorder in the room when the board chair erupted in pure joy, excitement coursing through the room.

“That’s the flywheel!” he thundered, marching towards the whiteboard to draw it out. “That’s what makes you guys special — you understand the culture, you interpret it, and you use it as a tool to give young people power that connects them to the establishment, or changes the establishment.”

I was on the brink of tearing up — even at this stage, still the boy out…

by Chude Jideonwo and Damola Morenikeji

Do humanity’s best days lie ahead or behind us? It’s the eternal question in the post-Enlightenment world. We were forged and evolved in fear; that’s how we survived the jungle. Thus it is reasonable to see the world as one in which hope is an endangered species.

This feeling is valid.

But valid does not mean true. In his book, Factfulness, Swedish professor Hans Rosling described the pervasive cognitive bias that can lead to a feeling of doom: “We must recognise … when we get negative news, and [remember] that information about bad events…

“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day…

Chude Jideonwo

On an ambitious mission to transform Sub-Saharan Africa into a (mental, emotional, spiritual) safe space. Join the mission:

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