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Magis Africa 2014: “It all starts with me”

“It all starts with me”. The simple realisation of what each one can and should do to build a world of love, justice and peace was one of the highlights of the Magis Africa 2014 Experience.

The event Ignite Africa held from 15 to 24 August 2014 in Zimbabwe gathered more than 350 young people from nine African countries and five European countries. Together they reflected about how they could find themselves and God in the contemporary world and especially in the poor, vulnerable and marginalised.

AJAN sponsored and played a key role in the facilitation of two of the ‘immersion experiences’ – practical placements – in Zimbabwe and Zambia that focused on AIDS. The 23 young people who joined the groups with an AIDS theme came away with valuable insights – most significantly that people living with HIV are “just like us” – and the intention to act. Certainly it seems as if the impact of the event will stretch well beyond the five days.

“It all starts with me.”

“I came with empty hands and left with full hands.”

“I have to do more.”

The experience was divided into hands-on work, workshops and prayerful reflection. Every day started with a reflection from the Magis Hand Book led by one of the participants and ended with Magis Circles and Mass. The Magis Circles offered space to share experiences, ideas and the word of God.

The workshops were based on AHAPPY, the AJAN prevention program for youth that draws on Ignatian pedagogy. AHAPPY encourages each one to look at the world with the Holy Trinity, to see the good and the evil and to discern one’s place and meaning in this world. The modules guide the participants a journey of self-discovery and impart life-skills with an emphasis on understanding the impact of HIV in our African context.

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