LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow) –Barely a month after he was named the 2015 Young African Achiever— an award which is given to a young African bringing forward development and change to the African continent—Malawian rising youthful leader, James Woods Nkhutabasa undertook a one week long religious pilgrimage at Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Medjugorje is small town in Bosnia, the name means “between the mountains” in Croatian. Since 1981, it has become a site of Catholic religious pilgrimage due to alleged apparitions of Mother Mary to six local Catholics.
James Woods-Nkhutabasa was born in a catholic family and when he lost both his parents as a child, he turned to Pentecostal church whilst living in a Muslim household.
Speaking in an interview on Sunday, Woods-Nkhutabasa said that he decided to go on this religious pilgrimage to give thanks to the Lord and learn from others.
“This pilgrimage offered me time to reflect on my life so far, a chance to refresh, find out more about myself, pray for my family and friends, pray for our country Malawi but most importantly have time to thank God for all that he has done in my life. We all sin, this is human nature – but to not accept our wrongs and ask for forgiveness is a weakness that needs to be addressed.”
“I for one am addicted to work – I never seem to stop. The pilgrimage has helped relieve the pressures of constantly being on the go, has helped in freshening my mind, body and spirit.
“This is where great ideas and innovations are born. It has also helped me develop a greater understanding of the Holy Scriptures whilst getting closer to the Holy Spirit. All in all, it has helped me not only appreciate my life but look at how one can help others realise their own potential.
Before attending the pilgrimage, Woods-Nkhutabasa travelled to Croatia where he discussed some social impactful business ideas with a successful social entrepreneur on what can be done for Africa and Malawi to be more specific.
Asked if there is any relationship between religion and business in this day and age, Woods was quick to give a nod.
“Interestingly if one were to mention religion as being vital for business, some may take offence – particularly in the Western world. What we need to remember is that the world of business is all about relationships, these relationships are part and parcel of every human emotion, motivation and belief.
“In business one will face many challenges from employment, job lay-offs, vision, strategy and growth etc…religion is of benefit in helping one deal with such challenges. It can help business leaders in making the right decisions, decisions not just motivated by profits but rather growth.”
When asked to comment on importance of religious pilgrimage to the Malawian youth, woods-Nkhutabasa said that “Malawi is blessed with outstanding youth, truly our nation’s biggest asset but without God in their lives, without these social ties they may have an unproductively spent youth.”
Woods-Nkhutabasa submitted to his fellow Malawian youths: “To all Malawian youth, participating in a pilgrimage is something of importance but I do understand that it can be very costly and not all can afford to travel to different locations for such.
“A free way of achieving this is to find a place within their communities, within their religious circles and their peers, to take time and reflect on life.
“These groupings will draw together people from different backgrounds, some of wealth, some in poverty, some with drug addictions, some with God in their hearts…the uniqueness of it all is that you can share a story, be heard, be loved, be accepted, be helped and most importantly have a presence with God.
“The reason I have suggested the social aspect is because beyond having a quiet time with God, one is also able to develop social capital through these networks which can help guide them through their challenges and successes.
After Bosnia, Woods will return to his base in London where he will attend a wildlife ball hosted at the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, the organisation boasts The Duke of Cambridge Prince William (future King of England) as their Royal patron. From there, he will be heading to New York during the United Nations General Assembly attending some side meetings on African Leadership and Business in Africa.