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:

Lexique Terminologique des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication

Lexique-TerminologiqueLexique Terminologique des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication, by Fulgence Ratsimbazafy SJ, Roger Bruno Rebenilaina, Jean Claude Andrianaivo, Henri Rahaingoson, Jean Claude Rakotomanana, Jean de Dieu Randrianasolo, and Pierrette Rasoamanandray (Antananarivo: SAMIS-ESIC, 2015), 72 pages.

This book is the result of a collaborative effort by the teaching staff at SAMIS-ESIC (School of Information and Communication Sciences—St. Michel, Antananarivo). Since its inception in 2001, the School has emphasized the use of the Malagasy language in teaching without neglecting the importance of French, which is still the official language of teaching and administration. In 2006, the change of university system into bachelor-master-doctoral programs prompted the school to encourage students to write their dissertations in Malagasy for the bachelor’s degree, and to choose between Malagasy and French for the master’s. A group of teachers and students began to collect and make a list of “terms” (not “words”) in French that are used in the area of information and communication. The work of the authors of this book began in 2012. The book itself consists of French terms used in the world of information and communication, which are translated into the Malagasy language. According to Fulgence Ratsimbazafy SJ, this work is but a beginning, which must be continued, and there is a lot that could be improved upon. As it is, however, the book will be useful not only for the teaching of information and communication, but also for the progress of the Malagasy language and culture. (Reviewed by Dr Jocelyn Rabeson SJ, Chief Librarian, Hekima University College)

Les beatitudes

Okambawa Les beatitudesLes beatitudes: Le medicament pour le bonheurby Wilfrid Kolorunko Okambawa SJ (Dakar: Lux Africæ, 2014), pages 165, ISBN: 979-10-933302-01-0.

Wilfrid Kolorunko Okambawa is not new in the subject of peace and reconciliation. In this book, he presents the beatitudes as “medicine” that is capable of bringing happiness. This image of the beatitudes allows him to highlight the importance of their proper understanding. In the logic of pharmacology, he says, medicine can kill if it is administered badly, but it can also bring relief or complete healing if it is administered properly. It is therefore important to begin with a proper understanding of happiness, noting the paradox of multiple conceptions of the subject even in the New Testament. Moreover, Okambawa reveals the paradoxical nature of happiness according Jesus, which manifests itself in the synthesis of cross and joy. Was it not Jesus himself who, in the beatitudes, linked “happiness” and poverty of spirit or the act of mourning? This book is both Okambawa’s argument that the wisdom of the beatitudes is not readily available to common sense and his contribution to a proper understanding of the “medicine” that we need in order to attain “happiness”, especially in an Africa that thirsts for joy, healing and development. However, this is not just about Africa. Citing Engelbert Mveng’s L’Afrique dans l’Eglise, Okambawa sees the African church, in its poverty and humility (or, was it humiliation?), as having the task of reminding all others the importance—indeed “the challenge”—of the beatitudes. (Reviewed by Dr Festo Mkenda SJ, Director, JHIA)

Building Social Conscience Through the Continuing Formation of the Laity

Chikwekwete-and-Opongo Building-Social-ConscienceBuilding Social Conscience Through the Continuing Formation of the Laity: Focus on Catholic Professionals, edited by Dadirai Miriam Chikwekwete and Elias Omondi Opongo, S.J. (Harare: African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching, 2015), 123 pages. 

This booklet is based on material presented at conferences that were successively held in Malawi, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Most of the articles inform the reader about the history, the form and the level of development of Catholic professional groups in the countries of eastern and southern Africa where the African Forum for Social Teaching (AFRCAST) operates. A few others get into some preliminary discussions about the nature of Catholic Social Teaching and how it can lead practitioners towards making a contribution to social transformation. While it acknowledges with appreciation the role and contribution of some individual Catholic professionals in Church and society, the booklet admits that a lot more could be done by this particularly well-positioned group and even begins to show how this could happen.

Pélérinage Ambohibemasoandro

Ranaivoarson-Chemin-de-Croix-du-Saint-Jacques-BerthieuPélérinage Ambohibemasoandro – Ambiatibe: Le Chemin de Croix du Saint Jacques Berthieu, by Pierre André Ranaivoarson, S.J. (no publication details, c. 2015), 35 pages. 

A small devotional book, printed ad experimentum and designed for pilgrims following the route from Ambolhibemasoandro to Ambiatibe (Madagascar), about twelve kilometres, which Saint Jacques Berthieu passed in the last moments before he was martyred on June 8, 1896. The book is thus aptly sub-titled The Way of the Cross of Saint Jacques Berthieu. The author is the current provincial superior of the Jesuits in Madagascar. He marks fourteen stations along the way, from the saint’s capture at Rasamoelina to his brutal murder at Ambiatibe, and adds a fifteenth station to celebrate the beatification and canonization of Jacques Berthieu. The centre of prayer and reflection at every station is Jesus. A gospel passage is proposed to focus attention on an aspect of Jesus’ own passion, and only at the very end of a station is provided a brief text to indicate how Jacques Berthieu’s own suffering was a concrete way of bearing witness to the love and the consequent passion of Christ.  

African Land Rights Systems

African-Land-Systems-TarimoAfrican Land Rights Systems, by Aquiline Tarimo (Bamenda: Langaa Research and Publishing CIG, 2014), 163 pages, ISBN 978-9956-792-60-3.

This book, from ethical, interdisciplinary, and African perspectives, unveils the root causes of the increasing land disputes. Its significance lies upon the effort of presenting a broad overview founded upon a critical analysis of the existing land-related disputes. It is a perspective that attempts to evaluate the renewed interest in evolving theories of land rights by raising questions that can help us to understand better differences underlying land ownership systems, conflict between customary and statutory land rights systems, and the politics of land reform. Other dimensions explored in the book include the market influence on land-grabbing and challenges accompanying trends of migration, resettlement, and integration. The methodology applied in the study provides a perspective that raises questions intended to identify areas of contention, dispute, and conflict. The study, which could also be categorized as a critical assessment of the African land rights systems, is intended to be a resource for scholars, activists, and organizations working to resolve land-related disputes. (From the back cover).

Md. Jacques Berthieu

Ratsimbazafy Jacques BerthieuMd. Jacques Berthieu: ilay voahangin' ny finoana eto Madagasikara, by Fulgence Ratsimbazafy SJ (Antananarivo, 2014), 58 pages.

The book, whose title can be translated as St. Jacques Berthieu: A Pearl of Faith in Madagascar, was written to commemorate the canonization of Jacques Berthieu (1838-1896), Jesuit missionary and martyr in Madagascar, which took place on October 21, 2012. It contains two key reflections by the author. The first reflection recounts the life of St. Berthieu as a missionary, a martyr, and someone who cared for the development of the Malagasy people. St. Berthieu is thus presented as a model, not only for the religious, but also for all Christians. The second reflection brings the life and examples of St. Berthieu into the reality of political crisis in Madagascar today. Fulgence sees this Saint missionary as a prophet who can speak to the Malagasy people, including their leaders, on themes such as human rights, justice, freedom, reconciliation, etc. In both reflections, Fulgence not only narrates the life and work of Jacques Berthieu, but deepens and illustrates it with a theological reflection on the meaning of sainthood in our cotemporary world. (Reviewed by Jocelyn Rabeson SJ, Chief Librarian, Hekima College)

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