Patrick explains that if you look at the history of Africa, he believes that God wants us to understand what has happened in the past as well as what is happening currently so that we can know how to move forward.
In that search of understanding what has happened in the past, one will have to look at what has happened in Africa as a continent. “It’s a continent where slavery was very prevalent, it’s a continent largely colonialised by other people and even in South Africa we were faced with apartheid.” Patrick continued. The whole essence of the past, says Patrick, was based on something Patrick calls “rejecting the presence of God in indigenous African people.” Patrick further explains his statement with the fact that history has proven over the decades that people believed and perceived indigenous African people as inferior. “This completely goes against what is said in the Bible, that every person is created in the image of God. In the likeness of God, we are all created as masterpieces” says Patrick.
For that period in Africa’s history, it denied the DNA of God in indigenous African people, Patrick states, and that influenced us as indigenous Africans to “believe that we were not created good enough.” That’s where most of the pain lies, Patrick continued, not only at a heart level but sadly also a mindset.
Patrick believes that understanding the past is truly what opened up the door for a greater level of revelation in his own life. “When visiting the slave castle of Ghana, as I walked through the castle and listened to the history of the atrocities that took place and how slaves were treated and loaded onto boats, God literally said to me: ‘understand that the greatest gift that I have given to the African person is the gift of supernatural forgiveness.’
“When you understand the atrocities that have happened to African people, the number one gift we carry is the gift of supernatural forgiveness,” says Patrick. Patrick continues that through forgiveness, African people will point the whole world towards the forgiveness of Christ, where He forgave even before He was asked for forgiveness.
That was the number one key Patrick Kuwana spoke about – that as African people, in order to “enter into the destiny that God has for us, we need to take that key of supernatural forgiveness and then begin to walk the journey that Jesus walked for forgiveness.”
Patrick emphasises that as we do this, the remaining two keys will come into play, as they are all related to love. Patrick states that God has blessed us abundantly with resources on our continent. God has also blessed us abundantly with the work ethic and ability to serve. “If you look at what the enemy has done over that period of darkness over Africa, he actually used the systems of colonialism, slavery and apartheid to extract the resources out of Africa. He used that to extract the people, the labour, and resources of Africa. The enemy then, through unrighteous and unjust systems, forcibly used the labour and resources of Africa to serve the interest of self-centeredness and greed in other places while denying indigenous African’s their God-given heritage and inheritance on the continent.” Patrick explained.
Now, Patrick continued, “I believe the two other keys are the fact that we as Africans will give our labour and our service, but this time around – willingly as we use our redemptive gift of serving. We will give our resources as a blessing to the world, but this time – willingly as we use our redemptive gift of giving.”
“All this will see Africa willingly serving the world with its three keys: the redemptive gifts of forgiveness, serving and giving.”
What are some of the potential contributions that could come from this summit?
Patrick explains that for this particular conference (European Economic Summit for Africa) what gives him a lot of hope is that he can feel a shift in the right direction. “We’ve got such a diverse group of people, and when I talk about diversity, it’s not just purely about where they’re from but also in terms of what they do.” Patrick continues to mention that there are some very influential church-based leaders, government leaders and people who are in business amongst other attendees in the conference. With that diversity, Patrick says that he truly believes “the conference is quite unique, the topics that have been discussed have been root issues. If I look at the many conferences that I’ve attended, at times, we tend to work at a surface level. Even though I would say we haven’t gone to the very depths yet, we’ve definitely had a couple of core issues come up. For me, when these issues come up and people stay at the table, don’t get overly emotional and don’t throw their toys out the cot – it’s a sign of maturity. A greater level of maturity but also a greater sense of urgency to address the more difficult things”. Patrick believes he has also received a lot more encouragement from the fact that there is the recognition that not ‘one person’ or ‘one group’ can do this but that it is a collective solution. “The humility of realising that I cannot do this alone, but that we have to stand together in making a change.”
What does a transformed Africa look like?
Patrick believes that a transformed Africa would have a few elements. From a Christian and Godly worldview, Patrick says that he, first of all, thinks it’s a continent where its people will be fully in relationship with God. A continent that recognises that God is the creator. That people will be serving this beautiful God-given continent, serving each other, but also recognising that we are doing it for the glory of God. “Africa has actually been given the mandate to be a continent to bless other continents. I see an Africa that is fully reconciled with God, fully reconciled with each other and using its vast resources to serve humanity and to bring glory to God.
What steps can be taken to remove the scourge of corruption in the continent?
The whole issue surrounding corruption, according to Patrick, is “what we do to really uproot and get rid of corruption, bringing in ethics, values and clean living – starts at a personal level.” If we claim to live in countries that say we are majority Christian, but yet the values we see in society don’t seem to correlate with the values and ethics that we see in The Bible, we create a major mismatch in ourselves.
From an individual level, values come from families. If there is brokenness in the family and Christian values aren’t modelled and taught, we raise children who will carry on with the ills that are currently there. “We need to actually focus on the families. We need to focus on the next generation, the schooling systems and ask ourselves ‘are we truly valuing ethics.”
The difficult one, and one that is probably the most unpopular, is the church. “Because where are most people getting their guidance from? Are we actually teaching the truth, or are we just giving people the message that they want to hear so we can fill up the pews next Sunday? Perhaps it’s time that we give people the difficult message, but the message of truth and really challenge people around the message of ethics and values. I think we have a captive audience in the church every Sunday – what is the message that we are challenging them with?”
Patrick believes that if the church is doing it – the government, businesses and other institutions will begin to take notice. For as long as we stay shouting as the church and as Christians, but we are not seen personally doing it, we lose all credibility and we are not taken seriously at all.
“I truly believe that if we can individually start to live it, see those values filter into our families, into our children then the world will take notice and we can begin to shift culture.”