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Poor nations must have access to Covid vaccine, African faith leaders argue – Church Times

PROMINENT faith leaders in Africa, including Anglican and Roman Catholic archbishops, have implored the world’s governments to support a People’s Vaccine movement, to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people have protection against the Covid-19 virus.

On the eve of the global Covid-19 summit of world leaders convened by President Biden, 45 faith leaders issued a joint People Vaccine Alliance statement, calling for an “immediate action to address the massive inequities in the global pandemic response”.

The statement, issued on Thursday, says: “We are one global family, where our problems are tightly interconnected. However, we know the greatest impediment to people getting their vaccinations, tests, and treatment is inequity.

“World leaders must renew their approach to tackling the response to the global pandemic by treating Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatment — not as commodities but as public goods, which all people have the right to access. We encourage world leaders to unite and stand in solidarity with people from low-income countries by supporting a People’s Vaccine.”

The group of faith leaders includes imams, archbishops, and sheikhs. Among the signatories are the Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba; the General Secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, the Ven. J. W. Kofi deGraft-Johnson; and the RC Archbishop of Kumasi (Ghana) and President of Caritas Africa, the Most Revd Gabriel Anokye.

Organisations represented include the Council of Religions, the Muslim Judicial Council, the All Africa Conference of Churches, the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, Reconcile International, the Council of Churches in Zambia, Caritas Africa, the Ghana Conference of Religions for Peace, the Institute of Islamic Studies, and the Zimbabwe Interreligious Council.

The signatories deplored the fact that “more than two years have passed since the start of the pandemic, and we have made little progress in ensuring people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated.

“This inequity has created an unjust reality where the Covid-19 death toll is four times higher in lower-income countries than in rich ones.”

Dr Makgoba spoke at a fringe event at the Covid-19 summit, and repeated his warning: “The virus does not see boundaries. The virus respects no borders nor carries any passport.”

In the online discussion with the United States’s international religion ambassador, Rashad Hussain, the Archbishop said that, in an interrelated world, the Church’s vocation was to heed St John’s Gospel and tell the truth “which sets us free. The truth is about the immorality of inequity in vaccine production, access, testing, and lack of human solidarity.”

Dr Makgoba criticised the attitude of “helping ourselves first and leaving others in need with none”. And he made a plea for waiving vaccine patents. “Please focus on low- to middle-income countries — not in aid and the power dynamics of control, but share know-how, and support patent waivers so that these countries can build domestic [vaccine] capabilities.”

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Remembering Ozziddi exponent, Sonny Okosun, 14 years on – Premium Times

There are no words to describe how the entire nation felt upon receiving news of the death of the legendary Nigerian musician Sonny Okosun on May 24, 2004.

Widely known for his immense contribution to the Nigerian music scene in the ’70s and ’80s, the “Which way Nigeria” singer passed away exactly 14 years ago today.

Mr Okosun died of colon cancer at the Howard university hospital, Washington DC, USA.

The musician who sang some of Africa’s greatest protest anthems died at 61.

Before his passing, there was a noticeable change in the singer’s weight as many people speculated he was having some health issues.

Many people assumed he had contracted the HIV/AIDS disease, which he dismissed when he said the reason for his weight loss was due to a diet drug prescribed by his doctor.

The late singer’s family were also not fully informed of the nature of his illness as he told them he had diabetes. He discovered that he had colon cancer when he later travelled to America for a medical check-up.

To this very day, hardly can the musician’s name not be mentioned when listing musical activists that paved the way for socio-political justice in Africa.

In addition to his musical talents, Okosun was also a freedom fighter whose numerous hit singles such as ‘Orimolade’, ‘Holy War’, ‘Fire In Soweto’, ‘African Soldier’, and ‘Wind Of Change changed the political narrative in African countries and the world at large.

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Late Sonny Okosun

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Late Sonny Okosun

On this particular day, PREMIUM TIMES remembers the life of an icon whose works would continue to inspire generations for several decades to come.

Before he became a legend.

As with every great musician, Okosun had humble beginnings. Born in Enugu, Nigeria, on January 1, 1947, the singer spent most of his childhood living with his grandmother at Ibore, near Irrua in Edo State.

He later moved to Enugu to live with his parents for his early education at St’s Brigid’s School, Asata, Enugu. He proceeded to enrol at a government trade centre in Enugu but left before completing his studies.

With the hope of pursuing a career in entertainment, he journeyed into the busy streets of Lagos. Upon arriving, he took lessons at a drama school in Surulere but left for Enugu after a few months.

Musical career

Drawing inspiration from artists like Elvis Presley and the Beatles, Mr Okosun ventured into the Nigerian music scene.

Having mastered the art of playing the guitar, he joined the postmen, a British cover band, in 1964 before his first visit to London as a part of a theatre group.

Following his parents’ settlement in Lagos, he became the late Victor Uwaifo’s Melody Maestros band in 1969. An integral part of the group, he served as the band’s second guitarist.

During his time with Uwaifo, there was something distinct about the sound he played, notably how he experimented with blending African and rock rhythms.

His departure from the group led him to start a band in 1974 whose initial name was Paperback Limited but changed to Ozzidi. The band became a success, releasing several singles that won the hearts of many Nigeria.

With a strong highlife rhythm, the band had Okosun take up the role of lead vocalist, leading to the release of their albums, ‘Ozzidi’, ‘Living Music’, and ‘Ozzidi for sale’.

The band later disbanded in 1974, and the music legend pursued a solo career, rising to stardom with his single, “Help.” He released albums such as ‘Papa’s Land’ and ‘Holy Wars, ‘Sonny Okosun Live in Varadero’, ‘Mother and Child’, ‘Which Way Nigeria?’,’ Revolution II’, ‘Africa Now or Never’, ‘Togetherness’ and ‘African Soldiers’.

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Late Sonny Okosun

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Sonny Okosun

In 1993, the singer ventured into gospel music. He released the gospel centric album ‘Songs of Praise’, ‘ Revival’, ‘The Ultimate Collection’, and ‘Celebrate! & Worship in Caribbean Rhythms’, ‘Be Glorified’, and ‘The Glory of God’. He also started the house of prayer ministry, a Christian church.

Awards and achievement

To say Okosun is one of Nigeria’s top 10 greatest artists is not an understatement.

Due to the success of his songs, he won over 30 awards during his lifetime and performed at global and local music concerts.

READ ALSO: Music: Nigeria’s greatest tourist asset, By Folorunsho Coker

He was also the first Nigerian to win an EMI award in 1974. Adding to his bag of achievements is that he was the only Nigerian artist to accompany the late MKO Abiola on his nationwide political campaign.

Collaboration was no stranger to this legend as his songs featured the talents of Eddy Grant, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Harry Bellafonte, Sunny Ade and Victor Uwaifo.

Legacy

An outstanding quality Okosun possessed was his ability to speak and sing in different languages. A rarity among his colleagues, the skill gave his songs a unique feel and set the pace for upcoming singers.

The singer is also known for his contribution to activism in Nigeria and other African states like South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia, among many others. Through his songs, notably “Fire in Soweto,” he campaigned for independence, majority rule, and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

In our hearts, Okosun wasn’t just a musical legend. And he was also a father figure in the Nigerian music scene, a hero and a freedom fighter.


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VATICAN – Pontifical Mission Societies: Shaping the future with a view to the history of its origins – Agenzia Fides

Lyon (Agenzia Fides) – A new awareness of being baptized and sent, and therefore “missionary disciples” of Christ, is to be born from the roots of its own genesis and looking at the life of Blessed Pauline Jaricot: this is the vision that emerges at the conclusion of the Assembly General of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), held in Lyon from 16 to 23 May, which involved over 100 National Directors of the PMS from five continents, as well as the four General Secretaries of the PMS and President of the PMS, Archbishop Giampietro dal Toso.
The National Directors of the PMS shared their experience and an overall assessment of the week spent in Lyon with Agenzia Fides, highlighting the fruitfulness of the fraternal meeting and the exchange of best practices, as well as the spiritual enrichment of the figure of Pauline Jaricot.
Among the newly appointed National Directors is Father Kizito T. Nhunmdu of Zimbabwe, who said: “After this meeting and this gathering, I am no longer the same. I feel the trust and support from the network of the PMS, which helps us in the evangelizing mission of our local Church. Meeting with all the other delegates from different nations, cultures and languages was enriching and the good practice information we shared will be of great help to me. Also the life story of Pauline Jaricot was very moving: we are called to follow in her footsteps. Finally, I would like to emphasize that meeting the four General Secretaries in person is also very important for my future work”. The Director of the PMS in Angola and Sao Tome, Father Bernardino Tchinpunduka, told Fides: “It was a blessing to see all the Churches from all over the world gathered here to deepen and live missionary spirituality. I felt, with the others, part of a story, called to continue a journey of evangelization that has lasted for two centuries”.
Sr. Ines Paulo Albino, National Director of the small African state of Guinea Bissau, reiterates: “I was particularly inspired by celebrations like the beatification of Pauline Jaricot, which was simple yet profound. From her we learn attention to the universal Church, action and love in our particular Church. From the universal Church to the local Church and vice versa. We are called to build up our local community to evangelize worldwide”.
According to Fr. Issac Ebo-Blay, from Ghana “it was important to live fraternity, and go back to the roots to shape the future of the Pontifical Mission Societies. And we do it in the footsteps of Pauline Jaricot: from her we have the passion inherited for the mission”. Reactions were also positive among the Latin American delegates. Bishop Waldo Ruben Barrionuevo Ramirez, National Director in Bolivia, says: “The pilgrimages to Ars and to the places where Pauline Jaricot worked in Lyon are for all of us a way back to the sources: we come back renewed, in spirit, in heart, in mind, in the mission”.
For Father Arias Guzman from Guatemala, meeting and sharing with other national directors is a “great gift”. I am encouraged to all row together in one direction, for the mission. At the beatification, I thought that here we can see the action of God in history: God worked in Pauline Jaricot and in all those who kept their spirits alive for two centuries. Today she can also inspire many young people”. Among the national directors from Europe is Father Josè Antonio Mendese Rebelo (MCCJ) from Portugal, who states that “the encounter in presence and the information about the best practices were very important. I believe that we must creatively adopt new forms of missionary animation and new forms of fundraising, even beyond the general fundraising associated with World Mission Day. We learn from Pauline Jaricot that the initiative of one person, one baptized person, in this case a young woman, can change the world. Pauline’s intuition has changed the history of the Church and the life of the Churches in the mission countries. Today, as we reflect a lot on synodality, we are all called to take seriously the contribution of the laity in the Church”. The National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Latvia, Father Rihards Rasnacis, an expert in the field of new technologies and social media, remarked: “For me it was the first gathering I attended; we really felt like part of the PMS family, part of a worldwide community that makes the universality of the church tangible. At the Beatification Mass I saw much joy on the faces of those present. It was truly edifying to see the Spirit of God bringing peace, fullness of peace and joy. This is the basis of the mission: I carry this joy in my heart to share with so many people, including on the digital continent, where the Church is called to evangelize”.
Fr. Maciej Bedzinski, from Poland, agrees: “We have received many blessings, such as the pilgrimage to the places of Pauline Jaricot and the sites of Pauline Jaricot and the parish priest of Ars. The meeting with the other National Directors was useful and fruitful. We have an authentic experience of the Church and listening to the gospel, which reminded me of my calling to be a missionary disciple and to devote my life to evangelization every day”. Among the delegates from Asia, Father Bento Barros Pereira, National Director of East Timor, was particularly enthusiastic about the gathering and “the continental exchange that helped us to reflect on and consciously respond to the challenges and issues on the agenda”. From Pauline Jaricot – he continued – we draw a spirit, a missionary passion: it was important to know her better to carry out our mission today”. Father Paul Trairong Multree, who came from Thailand, emphasized “fraternity, lived unity in diversity proper to Christ’s Church, and full communion sharing the missionary spirit”.
In Oceania, “this experience will teach us to cultivate the dreams, the desire for goodness and happiness that Christ puts in the heart of every human being,” said Father Bernardino Espiritu (SVD), National Director of New Zealand. “I was struck – he continues – by the story of Pauline Jaricot, who was humiliated, exploited and forgotten at the end of her life and who is now recognized by the Church as blessed. She teaches us all to pursue our dreams, to listen to the voice of the Lord in our hearts and to follow it and put it into practice. Today the new blessed tells us: the mission continues”.
And Father Victor Roche SVD, National Director of the PMS in Papua New Guinea, comments: “We experienced the encounter as a gift from God. And we received the precious gift of Pauline Jaricot, who guided us on our missionary journey, which begins again today, for which we are grateful to God, who carries out his mission in our history”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 24/5/2022)




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MatibinI scoops Miss Earthlife Africa International Botswana title – Mmegi Online

Utlwanang Matibini, a young woman from from Tsamaya village outshined fellow contestants and won the Miss Earthlife International Botswana title at Hangala, Ruretse on Friday. The new queen is not only a beautiful face but is also intelligent. She has Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Broadcasting and Journalism and is currently working as a journalist at Queen Magazine.

Her breathtaking attires, talent and intelligence gave the judges no choice but to crown her as the new queen. Meanwhile Laone Collet Molapisi from Lobatse won herself the first princess title. She is a Diploma in Business Management holder and a model while the second princess title was grabbed by Same Nyambe. Nyambe is a runway model, fitness model and commercial model. She hails from Mookane village. She has a Diploma in Archives and Records Management and also a Bachelors Degree in Information and Knowledge Management.

The three crowned women are contestants that were taken from the top three of Mr and Miss Heritage Botswana. According to the organisers, they decided to crown them as Miss Earthlife International Botswana top winners because both pageants had the same mandate. The women had three traditional attire and a talent show parade. Their overall score was determined by their dresses, performance, talent, parade, consistency, intelligence, time management, project and social media activeness. Each contest was assigned to do projects that were later given to judges for marking. Local gospel singer, Obakeng Sengwaketse, kept the audience’s spirits lifted up with his soulful gospel music. The organisers also invited other beauty queens from different pageantry.

The winner will represent Botswana at the international grand finale, which will be held in Botswana. Countries from around the globe will compete on an international stage to promote their cultures and tourism. The international pageant will be in August with the date yet to be announced.

When addressing audience, the guest speaker from HATAB, Tiny Letshwiti said the pageantry’s mandate was aligned with theirs. She said the mandate of Miss Earthlife International Botswana was to create a platform where cultures from across the globe were showcased on an international stage, promoting a cultural exchange and tourism. The theme of the pageantry was, ‘Embracing your identity through cultural tourism’’. Invited judges were South African Godfrey Mphatswe, Mister International Africa, the director of Mr and Miss Albinism South Africa, who came with Mister and Miss Albinism South Africa. Other delegates from different countries included those from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia who came to support the event.

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