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Democratic Republic of Congo: Look at Young People with a Different Gaze

Conversation with Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu

“Young Africans want to live and want to live worthily,” said His Exc. Mgr. Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Coadjutor Archbishop of Kinshasa and Vice President of CENCO (National Episcopal Conference of Congo), in an interview reported on October 26, 2018, by Fides News Agency. The conversation occurred in Rome, where the Archbishop is participating in Synod2018.

“The problem is that many young Africans live in such a sociopolitical context that they no longer see any future for them”, says Archbishop Ambongo and consequently “there are young people who are tempted to look elsewhere for a better life”.

“The first response of young people to these challenges is survival”, remarks Mgr. Ambongo. “Unfortunately there are some who resort to unpleasant methods and paths. Like young Africans who face the dangers of the desert and the sea, to reach Europe, remaining victims of human trafficking”.

A glimmer of hope according to Mgr. Ambongo is given by the affirmation in several African countries of citizen movements, made up largely of young people who ask governments for concrete changes. “The young – says the Vice President of CENCO – have become aware of being victims of a social and political system that blocks their horizons. Those who have truly become conscious are ready to demonstrate in order to put an end to the system that demoralizes them and to give themselves new perspectives for the future”.

Among the most active movements, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in demanding respect for democratic rules and a real alternation at the top of the State, is the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC), a Catholic lay organization very active in recent months.

Compared to those in Europe and North America, African and South American societies are made up mainly of young people, underlines Mgr. Ambongo. “When you enter a church in Africa, you are impressed by the young age of the participants in the celebrations”, says Archbishop Coadjutor of Kinshasa. “This poses challenges on a pastoral level that must be addressed – says Mgr. Abongo- “by changing our gaze on young people”. The Vice President of CENCO concludes by recalling that “young people are attached to the media. I believe we need to make extensive use of new media. Because that is where we can really reach adolescents”.

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