On September 21, the whole world celebrates the international day for Peace. This year the United Nation’s designed theme was “Action for Peace: our ambition for the global goals.” There is something transformative about taking a moment to think about what Peace is, what it feels like, and how it impacts the world. Through “Peace You Have My Word,” a writing competition organized by Africa Learning International (ALI), students from international schools in Africa and Europe have put pen to paper to celebrate Peace, Africa, and Antiracism. Each piece of student work shows evidence that education for Peace is a powerful tool to develop self-awareness, poetic appreciation, and critical thinking. It is inspiring to see African and European students countering afro-pessimism as one. Enjoy the enchanting words and the provocative ideas!
-Estelle Baroung Hughes, Founder of Peace You Have My Word competition
In the diverse tapestry of African cultures, peace is woven into the very fabric of existence. It resonates through the vibrant rhythms of the drum, the harmonious melodies of the mbira, and the graceful movements of the dancers. Peace in African cultures is not merely the absence of conflict, but a profound harmony that embraces communities and fosters unity.
From the Maasai tribes of East Africa to the Yoruba people of West Africa, traditional values and customs embody the spirit of peace. Ubuntu, the Southern African philosophy that emphasizes the connection of humanity, teaches us to treat one another with compassion and respect. It reminds us that peace begins within each individual and ripples outward, encompassing families, villages, and nations.
In African cultures, peace is not limited to human interactions, it extends to the natural world. The vast savannahs, majestic mountains, and winding rivers are regarded as sacred spaces, deserving of our reverence and protection. The wisdom of African elders passed down through generations, teaches us to live in harmony with nature and honor the delicate balance of ecosystems.
By embracing the rich diversity of African cultures and nurturing peace within ourselves, we can build bridges across differences and forge a future of understanding and cooperation. Let us celebrate the treasures of African heritage and draw inspiration from the resilience and wisdom of our ancestors. In doing so, we sow the seeds of peace for generations to come.
By nurturing inner peace and honoring African peacemakers like Mandela and Maathai, we amplify hope. Their legacy calls us to unite against injustice and promote peace and equality. Together, we can create a future where global peace prevails.
Ménès Adisso is a Grade 11 student at Enko Ouaga International School in Burkina Faso.