Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) - An institute dedicated to preserving memory and promoting historical knowledge in Africa and its adjacent islands

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Recent Publications by Jesuits in Africa

JHIA encourages Jesuit authors (especially those in or from Africa and Madagascar) to donate a copy of their publications to the Institute for preservation. The following books reached JHIA recently:

The Way, the Truth and the Life

The Way_the_Truth_and_the_LifeThe Way, the Truth and the Life: A Confluence of Asia, Europe and Africa in Jesus of Nazareth, by Festo Mkenda SJ, Michael Amaladoss SJ, Gerard J. Hughes SJ, Laurenti Magesa, and Diane B. Stinton (Nairobi: Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, 2017), vi + 194 pages. ISBN: 978-9966-1860-0-3.

Published as a souvenir in honour of Adolfo Nicolás SJ, former Superior General of the Jesuits, this book beautifully explores the different ways the traditions of Asia, Europe and Africa could contribute to a deeper understanding of Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Its point of departure is Nicolás’ severally repeated insight that, while Europe (or, more generally, the West) has placed an emphasis on “the truth,” Asian traditions are profoundly “way” traditions, and those of Africa are profoundly “life” traditions. In Nicholas’ view: What Asia has in abundance, Africa, Europe and the world in general are greatly in need of; what Europe has in abundance, Africa, Asia and the world in general are greatly in need of; and what Africa has in abundance, Asia, Europe and the world in general are greatly in need of. It follows that Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas—in short, each human culture and tradition—has a specific input which the Church must accept “if we want the fullness of Christ to be present” (Nicolás). In the end, we need the perspective of another if we really want to enrich our own knowledge of Christ. With Michael Amaladoss exploring the Asian contribution, Gerard J. Hughes, the Western, and Laurenti Magesa, the African, this book expands Nicolás’ insight to provide “incontestable rationale for the confluence of global epistemic, cultural and religious traditions at the service of a dignifying understanding and practice of spirituality” (A. E. Orobator SJ, President of the Conference of Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar).

To order this book, please click here or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Unmet Promises of Extractive Industries in Africa

Unmet Promises of Extractive Industries in AfricaUnmet Promises of Extractive Industries in Africa, by Charles Chilufya SJ and Sr. Catherine Nsiami (Rigobert Minani SJ) (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2017) 144 pages. ISBN: 9966-60-082-0.

Corporate social responsibility deals with a company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment, both ecological and social, in which it operates. In the wake of the failure of mining-led development to procure the development promised, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been proposed as one major way to leverage the role of business in development. This booklet written by Rev. Fr. Charles Chilufya SJ and Professor Sr. Catherine Nsiami is a critical diagnosis of the environmental dialogue in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of mining companies in Kitwe (Zambia) and Katanga (DRC). There is thus the need for a critical approach to the strengths and limitations of CSR, one that poses questions that have been unasked or neglected. There is further need for critical perspectives to understand what CSR does, and what it could mean for the poor and marginalised in developing countries.

Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa

Encounters coverEncounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa, edited by Robert Aleksander Maryks, (Boston College) and Festo Mkenda, S.J. (Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa).(Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2018), vi + 252 pages. ISBN: 978-90-04-34714-4 (hardback) / 978-90-04-34715-1 (e-book).

Protestants entering Africa in the nineteenth century sought to learn from earlier Jesuit presence in Ethiopia and southern Africa. The nineteenth century was itself a century of missionary scramble for Africa during which the Jesuits encountered their Protestant counterparts as both sought to evangelize the African native. Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa presents critical reflections on the nature of those encounters in southern Africa and in Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Fernando Po. Though largely marked by mutual suspicion and outright competition, the encounters also reveal personal appreciations and support across denominational boundaries and thus manifest salient lessons for ecumenical encounters even in our own time. This volume is the result of the second Boston College International Symposium on Jesuit Studies held at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) in 2016. Thanks to generous support of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, it is available in Open Access. Further plans by the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa are under way to produce a printed version for circulation in Africa at an affordable price.

Man in the Middle: A Memoir

MAN IN THE MIDDLE photoMan in the Middle: A Memoir, by Father Fidelis Mukonori, SJ (Harare: The House of Books, 2017), x + 301 pages; ISBN: 978-0-7974-7973-9.

Father Fidelis Mukonori, S.J., is one of the unsung heroes of the African liberation movement. In Zimbabwe, those involved with the fight for freedom knew him as an ally without peer. At an age when many were concerned with finding work, making ends meet, or finding a partner in life, he chose to dedicate his life to ending the bitter war that was tearing Rhodesia apart. His remarkable memoir charts the events leading up to the beginning of the Zimbabwean War of Liberation, the vicious struggle that ensued, and goes on to give readers a perspective never before documented in the country’s long and troubled history. His involvement behind the scenes in many of Zimbabwe’s defining moments reveals a history few, if any, have ever known. Not only is this book fundamental reading for all Zimbabweans, it is a fascinating account for anyone wanting to learn about the rise of African nationalism and the liberation movement, told by an African who both witnessed and participated in the way the story unfolded. (From the back cover)

Un Chemin des Béatitudes

Un Chemin des BéatitudesUn Chemin des Béatitudes: Monseigneur Christophe MUNZIHIRWA, Jésuite, Évêque et Martyr de la paix, by Dieudonné Mbiribindi, S.J. (Kinshasa: Éditions Loyola, 2017), 191 pages; ISBN: 9995127036.

Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa Mwene Ngabo, S.J. (1926-1996) was born at Kabare in South Kivu in today’s Democratic Republic of Congo. He joined the Jesuits there, later became bishop of Kasongo, and, in 1995, was made archbishop of Bukavu. He was brutally murdered a year later, on October 29, 1996, on account of his relentless defence of justice, peace, and human rights in the midst of a conflict that engulfed his region and country. “This meditation on the life and personality of Mzee Christopher Munzihirwa Mwene Ngabo, S.J., comes at the right time. This is not only because his ‘little brother’ in the Society of Jesus, Dieudonné Mbiribindi Bahati, presents it to us at the moment when the wish, expressed by many at the time of his death, was "one day to see the dossier for his beatification introduced,” but also, and perhaps especially, because this cause has now been introduced under the pontificate of Pope Francis, who, like him, is a Jesuit and a bishop. Mzee Christophe Munzihirwa was a religious, a Jesuit priest and a bishop according to the heart of Pope Francis,” says Fr. José Minaku, S.J., Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Central Africa (from his preface, freely translated from French).

Missionary Martyrs

Missionary MartyrsMissionary Martyrs of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, 1976-1988, by Ted Rogers, SJ

(Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2017), xiv + 215 pages; ISBN: 978-0-620-77626-4.

Conceptualized as an account of thirty Catholic missionaries who were brutally killed in Rhodesia (today’s Zimbabwe) between 1976 and 1988, Fr. Ted Rogers’ Missionary Martyrs could not have been timelier. The recent events that have seen former President Robert Mugabe reluctantly relinquish power expose us to the chequered and still highly contested history of Zimbabwe. Just who owns the country’s past? To the extent that claimants to the past occupy the present and arrogate to themselves the right to determine the future, war veterans, freedom fighters, and members of the Rhodesian security forces identify themselves with the honourable past. That remains the case until we are reminded that the past is dishonourable too. Missionary Martyrs succeeds in highlighting—albeit rudimentarily and somewhat repetitively—the honour and dishonour in in the history of Zimbabwe and in showing that the dishonour is yet to be accounted for, or claimed. Moreover, by choosing Missionary Martyrs for title, the author causes the reader to reconsider the meaning of martyrdom. Unlike the 2016 film Silence in which heroes and heroines of the faith opt for death rather than step on a manufactured image of Jesus, Missionary Martyrs simply chronicles ordinary lives of flesh-and-blood mortals who were deeply scared of the environment in which they operated. Yet, that they chose to stay on because of their faith-inspired love for the people they served remains beyond dispute. “They stayed on” is the central and recurrent theme of Missionary Martyrs.

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