Image credit: Painting of Leah Sharibu by portrait artist, David Goatley

Reflection: #FreeLeah

__Let us pray for love and healing to prevail.‪Today let’s stop and take time to reflect prayerfully on our world, near and far. I realize some of you may not typically pray, that’s your choice, but those who know me know, I start every day with prayer, no matter what. Today I have a special prayer request. Remember the young Nigerian school girl, Leah Sharibu, who was taken hostage in February and who has still not been released?

Every morning and evening I still scan the Nigerian press looking for the latest news about her. I pray for her every single day. I also have one day a week set aside just to fast for her. I shared this article with some of you earlier, but here’s something amazing I read a few days ago in one of the Nigerian newspapers:

‪Emeka Ezeugo (a Nigerian soccer legend) has offered himself to be taken away by the Boko Haram insurgents in exchange for Leah… Writing on his Facebook page, Ezeugo stated:

“Leah must be released immediately from protracted predators’ solitary confinement. She is a minor. Her freedom must not be leveraged on by the ruling party or the opposition. What can we do to liberate Leah from Boko Haram? She has great shepherds in all of us. I have personally offered to be taken hostage in exchange for Leah’s immediate release.”

__”There must be something we can do collectively,” he writes. “We surely have not done enough.”

“Prominent former footballers, legends of the game, I am appealing to you all to intercede. Boko Haram militants love football and enjoy watching us when we were still active. Appeal to them publicly, you will be surprised how the Mighty One upstairs will touch their hearts. Your Grace may be responsible for freeing Leah.”

Can you imagine making such a selflessly courageous offer as ‪Emeka Ezeugo’s, to take Leah’s place as a hostage, so this young girl can return home? It is remarkable beyond words.

There are other innocents around the world, too, other victims we don’t know about, who are also imprisoned or held somewhere against their will.

So what can we do?

Why not stop right now, wherever you are, and take a moment to pray for, or simply remember, if you prefer — the hurting, the healing, the lost, the searching, the imprisoned and the abducted, and also all who care for people enduring great suffering and pain, of any kind. And let us continue to pray specifically for Leah’s safe return to her family.

__Let us pray that love and healing may prevail.

In a few days, I will be traveling to meetings in Indonesia, a country reeling from a terrible tsunami that killed some 2000+ people in seas of mud and debris a few weeks ago. Then there’s the deadly conflict in Yemen, considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis right now, where an estimated half a million children are seriously malnourished. Fears are that the food situation will get worse before it gets better. And I know in some of your own countries, there are conflicts, floods and hardships of different kinds…

Amidst it all, there are heroes everywhere, like Emeka Ezeugo and certainly some of you, working to make the world a better place.

So let us also stop what we’re doing a moment to celebrate them (and you?). In Zimbabwe, for example, I told you recently about our cholera epidemic. Well, we now have so many volunteers doing amazing work, cleaning up neighborhoods, teaching people about how to stay healthy, distributing life-saving medicines and soap and more. Let us be sure to stop and appreciate the beauty that is love in action, even amidst these trials.

And speaking of heroes… did you hear about Africa’s newest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr Denis Mukwege from DR Congo, who continues his work treating women victims of sexual violence, whilst living under the protection of UN Peacekeepers at the hospital?

Dr Mukwege said he was inspired to become a doctor after many visits to the sick, with his preacher father…

If not us, who?






by 4 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

4 thoughts on “Reflection: #FreeLeah

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    In a recent taped recording which confirmed that she is still alive, Leah asked that we help support her family. We must honor this request.

    I’m keen to hear from those who are doing something in this regard:
    I will set up a crowd funding opportunity for members of this platform.
    I will also make a significant contribution myself.
    I have instructed my team to set up a small trust for her so that when she is released from captivity she can use for her continued education and for good works towards the plight of the girl child in Africa, suffering similar captivity.

    I’m also traveling to Nigeria in November where I will do a Town Hall, with former President Obasanjo, at his Presidential Library.
    I’m hoping I can find a way to meet with Leah’s family so I can help keep public awareness about theirs and their daughter’s plight.
    I know how to get it done so leave it with me.

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    There is so much we can do from our churches, mosques, clubs or even voluntary organizations.
    I remember when I was a member of a church in Zimbabwe, one of our members had a missing child. The police told us to file a “Missing Person’s Report”. They also told us they had no vehicles!
    We knew that in such a situation it would be dangerous to delay:
    We quickly organized ourselves into groups, and mapped out the entire city. We drove, we walked, through the night. And found the child in the early hours of the morning. I never felt so good in my life!

  3. Stephen Kamugasa

    Hear, hear to your call for prayer! Indeed, there is nothing the right prayer cannot do; it’s the only access we have to God Almighty, through our Lord Jesus…unto whom all things are possible.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *