Reflection: With faith, hope and love… 

__We remember Leah Sharibu, and all people still held in captivity across the world.The year 2018 was filled with both great successes and sadness for many around the world, with some tragic things happening nearly everywhere: violent attacks, diseases, floods and fires, war, famine, bus smashes, joblessness, and other calamities too many to mention. With all going on around us, both good and bad, let’s still stop a moment today to reflect on our many blessings. And in this CHRISTmas season that brings so many families together, let’s pause once again to remember Leah Sharibu and all innocent captives across Africa and the world, held as hostages, prisoners, or slaves, far from their loved ones during this special time of year.

As you know, several months ago I wrote about Leah Sharibu, the 15-year old Nigerian school girl, who has now been held hostage by Boko Haram militants for 10 months after being kidnapped, along with more than 100 teenage girls who attended a science and technology girls boarding high school in Dapchi, Yobe State in northeastern Nigeria. (“Boko Haram” roughly means “Western education is forbidden.”)

Leah was the only schoolgirl not released in March, because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

__Every day I pray for her safe return, and salute her amazing faith and courage.

Now as some of you mentioned when I wrote earlier this year, Leah is not the only hostage still held in Nigeria today. In 2014, about 226 schoolgirls were abducted from Chibok high school (about four hours from Dapchi). Some escaped and most were released following negotiations, but I understand that up to 100 are still thought to remain in captivity? UNICEF aid worker Alice Ngaddah is still in captivity as well.

These violent kidnappings are happening globally, not just in Africa. Reports are that people are being taken hostage (both women and men, of all ages) and held across the world, for different reasons by different groups, including human trafficking purely for profit… It’s a tragic state of affairs!

“What then shall we do?” asked the crowds (Luke 3:10).

The first thing everyone amongst you can do, regardless of your faith tradition, is to show love…

So let’s do this: For the next seven days here on this platform, go ahead and post your special messages to Leah, her parents Rebecca and Nathan Sharibu, and the rest of her family, as well as messages to Alice Ngaddah’s family and any other captives anywhere around the world you may want to share messages with. There are so many, yet so few names that we know. Let us not forget anyone in our thoughts and prayers.

When I move onto the next post, my team will compile all your comments together and send them to the families, and to UNICEF. (Please remember! No political statements on this platform… There are other places for that type of discussion and won’t be allowed here).

Let me start by sharing my own message:

Dear Leah: As if you were our own family and our own child — we continue to remember you, love you, and salute your courage. We continue to pray for your family, and for your safe return. Always remember:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Merry CHRISTmas.



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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.

7 thoughts on “Reflection: With faith, hope and love… 

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.

    The recorded message in August released by Leah’s captors said this: “I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation. I am begging you to treat me with compassion. I am calling on the government, particularly the President, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. Thank you.”

    Let us continue to deeply pray for all those working for Leah’s safe release to her family.

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    “The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born,” said Malala Yousafzai, the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize at only 17 years old.

    We keep Malala also in our prayers for her brave work on behalf of the education for girls, and other important causes to uplift the poor. You can read more here:

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.

    One of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates is 25-year old Nadia Murad, a survivor of sex slavery by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Nadia said earlier this month in her Nobel acceptance speech that hundreds of women and girls from the Yazidi religious and ethnic group are still being held captive and sold into sexual slavery by ISIS militants and others.

    Dr Denis Mukwege, who worked more than 20 years treating sexual injuries against women in eastern DRC, also received the Nobel Peace Prize this year, for his courageous work for justice and healing.

    Let us keep them both also in our prayers for all they do on behalf of women, helping them to be released from captivity, to heal and to be heard.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.

    As I have written here before, your words matter…

    “The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women…” said 16-year old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai, only nine months after being shot in the head by the Taliban for her activism as a child speaking out for the education of girls…

    “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons,” Malala told the United Nations that day.

  5. Jerry Sakala

    Dear Strive Masiyiwa as you more than once said ” Identify where the need is greatest and help the smallest” Right on this platform is a need: Not everyone can read due to contraints such as partial blindness, being on the job or driving while commuting etc. I can attest that just because one blind does not mean they have no vision. My board chairman on an NGO I serve is blind due to diabetes. yet serves on a Zimbabwean/Zambian Micro Finance services company board. He is also a full time MD of his multi million Personal Protection products supplies company with local branches and just entered the Egyptian market. People like him are marginlised on this platform. I have to copy and paste to his whatsapp for him to listen on his smartphone read aloud app. Besides I already provide Free Christian Books “Sermon Read aloud service” for our church and distribute as podcasts. I know many blind entrepreneurs can benefit from our “Afripreneurs growth mindset shifting conversations on this platform- especially Your posts,comments afterthoughts and replies. Allow me if you may sir to lead a project to produce audio podcast of ALL your posts from 2013 to date and distribute FREE through the various podcast channels. This I ask on behalf of all the blind or partially blind entrepreneurs in Africa… we can call it “Lead Aloud Podcast or something like that but only if you grant permission.


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