Ravi Zacharias and Global Team Visit South Africa for Festival of Thought

Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox, Michael Ramsden, and several other members of RZIM’s global speaking team converged in South Africa for the Festival of Thought from April 13-23. In collaboration with influential business, academic, and ministry leaders in the region, the RZIM team participated in 112 events in corporate boardrooms, on university campuses, and at churches across Johannesburg, Pretoria, Stellenbosch, and Cape Town. Through lively business breakfasts, lunchtime talks, and campus open forums, each gathering addressed a significant topic such as the basis of ethics and integrity, the quest for justice, the role of women in building a nation, and whether science and faith are compatible.

Highlights for Zacharias included a student outreach at Hillsong Church in Cape Town in collaboration with Da’ T.R.U.T.H., an open forum with Michael Ramsden on meaning and purpose in life for the Stellenbosch University community, and an open forum on the topic of absolute truth at Hatfield Christian Church in Pretoria. “My heart is filled with gratitude for the doors God is opening in South Africa, and we hope the impact of these meetings will last for generations to come,” said Ravi Zacharias. “Our team spoke to packed audiences in different settings and the questions were very poignant, both from believers and skeptics. We were able to meet them in a courteous, cordial way and respond to the questions of the mind and the heart.”The range of other events included Professor John Lennox speaking on “Smart Cities: Smart Ethics” and “Cosmic Chemistry: Do Science and God Mix?” at North-West University in Potchefstroom where over 2,000 students and professors attended; Michael Ramsden, Andy Moore, and Daniel Rangel speaking on the nature of true success to the business community at King-Price Insurance; Amy Orr-Ewing and Tanya Walker addressing the topics “Is Christianity Bad News for 21st Century Women?” and “Questions Worth Asking in Pursuit of Success” at a Women’s Summit in Johannesburg; and Max Jeganathan and Mahlatse Mashua participating in a dialogue with an atheist and an agnostic at University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on “Does the Christian God Exist?”

“I am so grateful for the impact that Festival of Thought has had in our cities,” reflected RZIM South Africa Director Mahlatse Mashua. “People responded to Jesus for the first time, people recommitted their lives and are turning to God again, people considered Jesus seriously as they began to explore the Christian story. Strongholds are being taken down. So many open doors in media, business and campus. Invitations upon invitations. Join us in praying for lasting impact in the days to come.”

The Festival of Thought, first held in London’s Canary Wharf business district in 2015, is an RZIM initiative to reach a cross-section of influencers in business, government, education, and the arts with answers to life’s biggest questions from the Christian worldview. “This week offers a chance for people to explore key life questions surrounding origin, meaning, morality, and destiny in a variety of cultural contexts,” explained Frog Orr-Ewing who founded this initiative. “By taking the message where it’s most needed and reaching culture-shapers in these key arenas, it really feels like RZIM is doing what we’re made to be doing.”

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