Back to listJan 1, 2007

SGI New Year's Prayer Meetings Held Across the African Continent

SGI members in Central African Republic

On January 1, 2007, SGI members of the Central African Republic, located in the heart of the continent, met for a New Year's prayer meeting. Since returning from an SGI training session in Japan in October 2006, Jean Chrysostome Gody, SGI-Central African Republic coordinator, has been sharing reports from his trip. Mr. Gody was inspired by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's speech in which everyone was encouraged to widen their circle of good friends, vital to the correct practice of Buddhism.

Last year in 2006, Liberia witnessed the inauguration of Africa's first democratically elected female president. Since the end of the civil war in 2003, Liberians are now working in earnest to restore their nation. The war which broke out in 1989 took numerous lives and deprived many of their homes. Amidst such turbulent times, SGI members in Liberia continued to pray for peace, never losing hope. They gather every week to pray together and engage in dialogues.

SGI-Liberia members celebrate New Year's Day in Monrovia, Liberia's capital
SGI-Central African Republic Members (Nov 2006)

In Nairobi, Kenya, SGI members and their friends joyfully greeted the new year. Young people attending gave New Year's resolutions. On the island country of Mauritius located east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, SGI members gathered at various venues including Port Louis, the capital.

SGI-Kenya members

SGI members in Côte d'Ivoire, which has been mired in internal strife since 2002, have continued holding prayers for peace in their country. The SGI membership has grown steadily, and today there are 20,000 people practicing Nichiren Buddhism in Côte d'Ivoire. In Abidjan, 1,700 gathered at their center on New Year's Day. The national SGI-Côte d'Ivoire women's leader Martine Deazon asked everyone to work at constructing lasting peace in their country. In Yamoussoukro, the capital, 800 SGI members and friends gathered.

SGI-Côte d'Ivoire members
SGI-Cameroon members

In a recent interview with the Seikyo Shimbun, SGI-Côte d'Ivoire General Director Andre Deazon shared that soon after civil war broke out, he and his fellow SGI members held continuous prayer sessions. "We made sure that voices chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo would never cease. We have also been actively providing humanitarian aid to the influx of refugees resulting from the conflict." Sharing his aspirations for the "Century of Africa," Mr. Deazon affirmed, "...we will take the initiative to create a 'groundswell of peace' in our country. Like other African countries, Côte d'Ivoire has undergone much suffering. I believe that putting into practice the Buddhist philosophy of humanism is the only solution. The path of human revolution is the only way out and it is the very path we will continue to walk."

[Adapted from an article in the January 8, 11 and 12, 2007 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]