In this Spotlight interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Barwendé Sané, a remarkable leader of nonviolence and peacebuilding in West Africa. Barwendé is a Jesuit priest from Burkina Faso with fourteen years of experience working in African conflict regions. He founded two civil society organizations to promote peace and nonviolence in West Africa and is the author of four books on nonviolence, peace education, and human rights. He is currently a fellow at the University of San Francisco Institute for Nonviolence & Social Justice. We discussed Dr. King's legacy, the historical links between the Black freedom struggle in the US and the anti-colonial movement in Africa, and how the systemic recolonization of Africa fuels war.
Barwendé Sané is a true heir to Dr. King, a man with the moral clarity and audacity to call out injustice when he sees it. His vocation as a priest became apparent when he launched into a sermon fiercely denouncing the systemic recolonization of Africa, his baritone voice ringing with a righteous anger rooted in love. At a time when the voices of racism and xenophobia fill the airwaves of the US and Europe, Barwendé's voice is desperately needed, reminding us of the conditions which lead African migrants to journey to Europe and die drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, drawing attention to Western complicity in the ongoing instability in Africa. Barwendé awakens us to the imperialist actions of our own governments, calling us to action to hold our governments accountable. While scathing in his critique of foreign exploitation, Barwendé pushes back against the white-savior notion of Africans as helpless victims. He has a fervent faith in the ability of Africans to be the architects of their own liberation, to use nonviolence to heal their societies and transform their worlds. I found our conversation deeply insightful and inspiring and I hope you do too.
Learn more about the USF Institute here- https://www.usfca.edu/institute-nonviolence-social-justice
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