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:

Revisiter l’Histoire et Redynamiser la Vie Spirituelle et Missionnaire

Madagascar colloquium on restorationRevisiter l’Histoire et Redynamiser la Vie Spirituelle et Missionnaire: Actes du Colloque sur le Bicentenaire de la Restauration de la Compagnie de Jésus, Province de Madagascar, by Compgagnie de Jésus Province de Madagascar, edited by Davy Dossou SJ and Fulgence Ratsimbazafy SJ (Antananarivo: Compagnie de Jésus—Province de Madagascar, 2014), 79 pages.

The booklet is the fruit of the celebration of the restoration of the Society of Jesus by the Province of Madagascar. It contains the proceedings of the colloquium organized for that purpose on October 17 and 18, 2013. As indicated on the title and by the opening remarks at the beginning of the book, the Province of Madagascar took the opportunity of the celebration, not only to re-visit the history of the unfortunate suppression and the gracious restoration of the Jesuits, but also to reflect on the province’s own history and the future of the Society of Jesus on the island. Four articles treat the main objectives of the celebration: the story of the suppression and restoration of the Society of Jesus, the story of the Jesuits in Madagascar from 1896 (the beginning of the colonization of Madagascar) to 1965 (the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council), and the Jesuits in Madagascar in the light of the Second Vatican Council. The articles communicate one message that, from its foundation to date, the Society of Jesus has but one motto: ite inflammate omnia (go set the world alight), under the banner of Christ, in union with the Church, for the greater glory of God. (Reviewed by Jocelyn Rabeson SJ, Chief Librarian, Hekima College)

“Allez dans le monde entier…”


Allez-dans-le-monde-entier“Allez dans le monde entier…”: Centenaire de l’évangelisation catholique du Kwango—Diocèse de Popokabaka (1915-2015),
 edited by Anicet N’Teba Mbengi SJ, Mulopo Apollinaire Makambu and Narcisse Kabeya Makweta (Kinshasa: Editions Loyola, 2015 [2014?]), 444 pages. ISBN 999512703.

“The history of a local church in a mission country is the history of the evangelization of a people,” says Narcisse Kabeya Makweta in his introduction to this monumental volume. Indeed the book is more than a story or history; it is, in many ways, a resource for the study of the history of the 19th century wave of evangelization in Africa and its enduring legacy to this day. Focusing on just one diocese, and drawing from myriad sources of information, it provides a detailed coverage of the necessary sacrifices and labors, the failures and successes that culminated in the establishment of a vibrant church in the Diocese of Popokabaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A collaborative effort by close to sixty people, the book comprises 17 chapters that are grouped into three parts, not counting a significant amount of front and back matter. The first part deals with the pioneers and protagonists of the evangelization of Kwango-Popokabaka from 1915 to the present. It provides an excellent mélange of missionary and local actors in the process of planting Catholicism in this part of the DRC. The role played by the Jesuits in the evangelization of Kwango-Popokabaka is well detailed here. The second part deals with the apostolic involvement of the Catholic Church in Kwango-Popokabaka, highlighting the various ministries that were carried out—from education to parish ministry and from social work to the inculturation of the gospel and the liturgy. The third part analyses current realities on the ground and looks more to the future, proposing ways of carrying forward the work of evangelization, enculturation and social development in the region.

Les Jésuites: Des hommes avec et pour les autres

Congo-AfriqueLes Jésuites: Des hommes avec et pour les autres, A special issue of the journal Congo-Afrique, no. 486 (Juin-Juillet-Août, 2014).

Marking the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus, this special issue of Congo-Afrique is dedicated entirely to the Jesuits. Most of the content is from Jesuits themselves, covering topics of local and global importance: history of the Society of Jesus, the practice of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, celebrations of the bi-centenary of the restoration in Africa and in Rome, the social and educational apostolates of the Jesuits in Africa, to name but a few. Interestingly, the volume also contains a brief text from an interview with Fr. Adolfo Nicolás SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, who articulates his impressions of Africa and affirms the continent’s cultural accent on the value of life: “These are the most profound human values which the West, the East and the world in general are greatly in need of,” says the General. For historians, the extensive overview of the Jesuits in Africa before and after the suppression, written by the competent historian Léon de Saint Moulin, is hugely informative and serves as a starting point for deepening research on more specific areas of Jesuit history in Africa. In fact, in this very volume, steps are already taken in that direction by, for example, Luca Lusala lu ne Nkuka’s article on “Mattheus Cardoso et le catéchisme kikongo de 1624” (“Mattheus Cardoso and the Kikongo Catechism of 1624”).

Governance of Minerals and Natural Resources

MinanibookcoverpictureGovernance of Minerals and Natural Resources: Mining, Oil, Forest and Land, edited by Rigobert Minani Bihuzo SJ and Ferdinand Muhigirwa Rusembuka SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2014), 112 pages. ISBN 9966-08-868-7.

Besides a foreword, an introduction, a “final communiqué” three appendices, the book puts together four seminar papers on the theme of governance of natural resources in Africa. The first paper by Allain Kalubi treats in detail different stages of the process of mining, highlighting what needs to considered at each stage so as to determine the environmental impact of the whole project. This, he indicates, will allow appropriate environmental management plan as well as mitigation and rehabilitation plans to be put in place. The second paper by Antoine Bérilengar SJ treats more specifically the question of oil. The author outlines some economic, financial, social, geopolitical and environmental issues arising from oil production in Africa and then emphasizes the importance of proper legal and institutional frameworks in addressing the raised issues. The third paper by Catherine Nsiami Mabiala is also a more focused treatment of the environmental governance of forests. With the aid of some case studies, the author aims to equip readers with essential knowledge about issues and necessary skills for getting involved in the proper governance of forests. The last paper by Patrick Mavinga focuses on land governance in Africa, treating issues like causes and types of land conflicts, evolution of land rights, etc. The author discusses in greater detail the policies and rules of the Land Code of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Le pardon

LepardoncoverpictureLe pardon: une folie liberatrice, by Wilfrid Kolorunko Okambawa SJ (Dakar: Publications Lux Africae, 2014), 253 pages. ISBN 979-10-93302-003.

Forgiveness is first and foremost a folly, argues the author of this book, but it is a folly that liberates both the offender and the offended. Moreover, forgiveness presupposes sin, yet “if sin is a bad folly, forgiveness is, on the contrary, a good folly, which exceeds and repairs the unreasonableness of sin.” The author argues that his theme goes beyond mere scholarly gymnastics, since he bases his conclusions on concrete experiences of men and women who struggle with the problem of forgiveness. It is a theme of critical importance to Africa where society is constantly confronted with a variety of personal, familial and ethnic conflicts. The author insists that it is necessary to develop strategies for the exercise of the difficult art of forgiveness. He offers his book as a life manual for those who wish to practice forgiveness, whether experts or just simple people. Published in its current format as a third, reviewed and corrected edition, this is certainly an important book that is probably calling for translation into other languages.

Catholic Church Leadership in Peace Building in Africa


Catholic Church Leadership in Peace Building in AfricaCatholic Church Leadership in Peace Building in Africa, 
edited by Elias Omondi Opongo SJ and David Kaulemu (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2014), 240 pages. ISBN 9966-08-817-2.

This book is a collection of articles from different voices in Africa, expressing the role of the many Christian leaders who have transformed the society through their lives and commitment to justice and reconciliation. The authors have particularly been interested in identifying diverse categories of leaders, of both high and of low profile. In some cases, they have conducted direct interviews with the various leaders, while in others they have relied on documented material. The individuals in this book demonstrate that change can never simply happen without commitment to faith and human engagement with the reality that confronts them. They further indicate that it takes courage, commitment and faith to bring change to society. This book is certain to provoke debate on important issues facing the African continent today.

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