Vatican News
Ambassador of South Africa to the Holy See, George Johannes Ambassador of South Africa to the Holy See, George Johannes 

South African Ambassador: Pope Francis has a deep understanding of Africa

The Ambassador of South Africa to the Holy See, George Johannes, has said that he is very impressed with Pope Francis’ grasp of events in Africa.

Paul Samasumo – Vatican City

Reacting to Pope Francis’ New Year’s address to members of the Diplomatic Corps, in the Vatican on Monday, this week, Ambassador Johannes said the Pope spoke passionately about Africa.

“Your presence carries a message for Africa”

“What touched me the most is that Pope Francis has a very good feeling and understanding of what is happening in Africa,” the ambassador said. He added, “I spoke to Pope Francis, and I said to him: ‘Your Holiness, we need you in Africa …. Your presence carries a certain message for Africa,’” Ambassador Johannes said. The ambassador hopes that another visit to African countries, by Pope Francis, would boost peace efforts and encourage national cohesion that is under threat from a new type of fractionalism.

Africa faces a new type of fractionalism

“Now, the Pope mentioned a number of countries where there are some serious problems …. (We are faced) with a new type of fractionalism where communities and societies of Africa are being broken down. These need to be mended,” the Ambassador said. He hopes the presence of Pope Francis in Africa would contribute significantly towards this healing.

African migrants are running away from real, serious problems

The Holy Father is aware of the severe situations from which most migrants arriving in Europe are fleeing says, Ambassador Johannes.

“When we look at the scenes of those coming on the boats, you mainly see Africans, African black people who are coming and there is a reaction in Europe against them. I don’t want to become too political about it (but) we were very accepting when the colonial masters came to our countries, and in many cases, they even deprived people of their land and culture and imposed their way of life on the people of Africa… People need to be reminded about where we come from… (these) people are running away from real, serious problems in Africa, and these are the things that the Holy Father is making us aware of, and I think that one could feel in the way that he was speaking, when he addressed issues of Africa, that he felt very passionately about them,” said Ambassador Johannes.

Annual encounter with diplomats

On Monday, this week, in the Sala Regia hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the exchange of greetings for the new year, 2019.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Armindo Fernandes do Espírito Santo Vieira, ambassador of Angola to the Holy See made introductory remarks before the Pope addressed the diplomats.   

Listen to Ambassador George Johannes


10 January 2019, 12:35